Germany plans crisis group for euro emergencies: draft law

20th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany is poised to establish a small group of deputies empowered to give rapid parliament decisons, such as buying bonds, in future debt crises, according to a draft bill seen by AFP Tuesday.

The draft legislation, drawn up by lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition, would allow a sub-committee of the parliament's budgetary group to give its assent in situations where extreme speed is required.

Members of this committee "will be able to take the necessary decisions quickly and confidentially," the draft says, adding that the number of people should be kept "as small as possible."

The measure is part of legislation aimed to boost the eurozone's rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF).

European leaders agreed on July 21 to increase the effective lending capacity of the fund to 440 billion euros ($602 billion) and to extend its mandate, for example, enabling it to buy the bonds of debt-distressed nations.

Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, will vote on the bill on September 29. Merkel is facing a potential backbench rebellion from eurosceptic members of her coalition partners.

The bill is certain to pass as opposition parties have pledged to vote in favour but a failure to secure enough votes from the ruling coalition would harm Merkel, already under pressure for her handling of the euro crisis.

The draft legislation, which could still be subject to revisions, came after the country's top court ruled this month that parliament should have a greater say when deciding to contribute billions of euros of aid for the eurozone.

Financial markets feared the court would rule the whole parliament needed to vote on such decisions, potentially slowing down Germany's reaction time in crises where speed is of the essence.

But in fact, the court judged that parliament's budgetary committee was sufficient and the draft bill is an attempt to conform to that ruling.

© 2011 AFP

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