German lawmakers on Wednesday approved a third bailout package for Greece, despite substantial opposition within its parliament.
“But due to the fact that the Greek parliament has already approved a big part of the (aid-for-reform) measures, it would be irresponsible not to use the chance for a new beginning in Greece now”, he said.
MPs have been anxious about two unanswered questions – the extent of any debt write-off for Greece and whether the global Monetary Fund will back the bailout.
Rutte’s coalition government easily survived a no-confidence vote Wednesday.
Today’s vote in Germany is among the last from parliaments across Europe, with the Dutch scheduled to vote later today. The approvals will clear the way for the European Stability Mechanism to set in motion the first payout in time for Greece to meet a €3.2bn payment to the European Central Bank on Thursday.
Some Spanish members of parliament railed against the rescue package, saying it did not benefit ordinary people in Greece, although only 20 lawmakers out of 322 voted against it.
“The pace of arrivals has been steadily increasing in recent weeks, with more refugees and migrants having arrived in Greece during July than during the whole of last year”, UN associate spokesperson Vannina Maestracci said at a daily news briefing.
The Social Democrats, Dr Merkel’s coalition partner, and opposition Greens also supported the measure.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has yet to make up his mind on calling early elections, a government minister said on Wednesday, following a rift in the ruling party over the country’s new bailout deal.
In the end, 63 conservative rebels cast “No” ballots and three abstained, marking only a slight increase from a vote last month approving the start of negotiations on the package.
On Tuesday, MPs in Austria, Estonia, and Spain voted to support the third bailout.
The German finance minister’s endorsement would also help Chancellor Angela Merkel win support for the bailout.
In closed-door remarks to her caucus on Tuesday, Ms Merkel said Greece faced a tight web of economic-reform conditions for its bail-out, according to a party official.
But Deputy Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis said on Wednesday that Tsipras had yet to make up his mind, possibly considering a delay until the first review of progress under the new bailout, which Greece’s creditors will conduct in October.
Hardliners within his party have accused him of capitulating to unreasonable demands that will plunge the Greek economy further into recession.
“If Greece stands by its obligations and implements the programme in full and with determination, then the Greek economy can grow again”.
“Every time they believe Europe’s “junkie”, Greece… the Greeks get their money, not the Dutch elderly, but the Greeks”, Wilders said. “Whether it will be used, only the Greeks can decide”.