France hails German court bailout backing

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France expressed relief on Wednesday after the German constitutional court decided not to overturn a plan to bailout ailing eurozone economies, urging governments to put it quickly into action.

"We welcome the Karlsruhe constitutional court's ruling, which will allow Germany to also advance rapidly in putting this plan into law," said budget minister Valerie Pecresse, speaking as the French government spokeswoman.

The German court ruled aid for other eurozone countries is legal -- despite a suit claiming it breaches Germany's strict deficit controls -- but it also said the German parliament must have a greater say in future bailouts.

France's senate was due to debate and vote on France's part in the bailout plan on Wednesday and Thursday, and France is expected to be the first country to formally give legal backing to the bailout.

"The next thing is for the Greek government and parliament to fully put into action the modalities of the plan that concern them and that they apply the programme as defined by the European Commission," Pecresse said.

Greece is to be the main beneficiary of the bailout plan, designed to head off a government debt default that would weaken the euro and threaten banks in richer eurozone countries, and it is expected to make swingeing cutbacks.

In a landmark ruling anxiously anticipated on jittery financial markets, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, western Germany, said all "large-scale" future aid packages must be approved by the parliament's budget committee.

The verdict comes weeks before the German parliament votes on extending the eurozone's rescue fund, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing opposition from voters and even within her own centre-right coalition.

© 2011 AFP

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