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Greece debt crisis: German MPs to vote on bailout

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The German parliament is to vote on whether to allow negotiations on Greece’s €86bn (£60bn) bailout deal.

Germany is one of several eurozone states that must give the green light before the rescue deal can go ahead.

The agreement is expected to be approved, although a number of conservative MPs are refusing to back any more financial help for Greece.

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The vote comes hours after the news that Greek banks, shut nearly three weeks ago, will reopen on Monday.

The announcement became possible after the European Central Bank (ECB) raised the level of emergency funding available.

However, credit controls limiting cash withdrawals to €60 a day will only be eased gradually, officials say.

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Earlier, eurozone ministers also agreed a €7bn bridging loan from an EU-wide fund to keep finances afloat.

The moves came after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won a parliamentary vote on the bailout proposals in the early hours of Thursday.

MPs divided

The Bundestag is expected to begin voting on a mandate for the bailout talks at 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT).

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged MPs to back the deal, saying she was “absolutely convinced” it was the way forward.

But the BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin says Mrs Merkel can expect a stormy session, with many MPs in her centre-right CDU-CSU alliance saying they will vote against the measure.

However, coalition partners the SPD and other smaller parties have said they will support it.

The parliaments of France and Finland have already backed the deal.

The closure of Greece’s banks has been one of the most visible signs of the country’s financial crisis.

The country has debts of €320bn and is seeking its third international bailout. Last month it became the first developed country to fail to make a repayment to the IMF.

“From Monday, the services offered will be widened. All the banks everywhere will be open,” Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas told ERT television.

He said there might be a weekly limit on withdrawals, rather than a daily one.

“If someone doesn’t want to take €60 on Monday and wants to take it on Tuesday, for instance, they can withdraw €120, or €180 on Wednesday,” he said.

“This is a proposal we are processing and we think it’s technically possible.”

The announcements from the ECB and the Eurogroup came after Greek MPs passed tough reforms as part of the new bailout deal.

ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference that emergency funding – ELA – to Greek banks was being raised by €900m over one week.

The €7bn bridging loan means Greece will be able to repay debts to the ECB and IMF on Monday.

It was agreed in a conference call on Thursday to tap the EU’s EFSM emergency fund and is expected to be confirmed on Friday by all EU member states.

The move had angered some EU members who are not in the single currency, but on Thursday the UK said it had won an agreement to protect its contribution in the EFSM.

 

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