French parliament to vote on Greek aid package
French lawmakers on Monday prepared to vote on 16.8 billion euros (22 billion dollars) of financial aid for Greece, France's share of a vast eurozone bailout to save Athens from a debt default.
Members of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, began debating the measure and were due to vote on it late Monday evening or on Tuesday. It must then pass to the Senate later in the week.
France's share of the bailout rose from an earlier projection of 6.3 billion euros to 16.8 billion -- part of a 110-billion-euro pot of eurozone and IMF funds agreed by governments on Sunday.
This makes France the second-biggest contributor to the package after Germany which will provide 22.4 billion euros.
The French share of the plan looked likely to be passed almost unanimously, backed by both the main blocs in the parliament, the opposition Socialist party and the right-wing ruling UMP.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy reaffirmed his support for Greece in its debt crisis, which has sent shockwaves through the whole eurozone.
In a telephone conversation with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Sarkozy "renewed France's solidarity with Greece," the president's office said in a statement.
It said Papandreou expressed his "total determination" to implement the rescue plan.
© 2010 AFP