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‘Irresponsible’ not to help Greece: Schaeuble to German MPs

Wolfgang SchaeubleGermany’s powerful finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, told MPs it would be “irresponsible” not to approve a third bailout for debt-mired Greece in a vote Wednesday.

“There is no guarantee that all of this will work and there can always be doubts,” he told the Bundestag lower house as debate began on the latest 86 billion euro ($95 billion) rescue plan.

“But considering the fact that the Greek parliament already approved most of the (stipulated reform) measures, it would be irresponsible not to seize this chance for a new beginning in Greece.”

The Bundestag’s blessing is required for German participation in the latest Greek bailout plan. Passage was seen as assured given the 504 seats Chancellor Angela Merkel’s left-right “grand coalition” holds in the 631-seat Bundestag lower house.

But grumbling has grown ever louder within her Christian Union bloc over lifelines thrown to the Greek government of leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, an outspoken critic of the eurozone’s de facto paymaster Germany.

Sixty of the 311 members in Merkel’s parliamentary group voted last month against authorising the start of negotiations with Greece on a new rescue package — defiance that was considered a blow to the chancellor.

Schaeuble, a fiscal hawk who drove a hard bargain in countless rounds of negotiations with Greece on new financial lifelines, told deputies they could vote for the package with a clear conscience.

Addressing one key area of concern, the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in the third bailout, Schaeuble told MPs there was “not the slightest doubt it would agree by October to participate, calling its expertise “indispensable”.

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