German parliament could pass Greek aid by May 7: Merkel ally

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The two German federal houses of parliament could decide by May 7 whether to allow Berlin to loan some 8.4 billion euros to debt-stricken Greece, the parliamentary head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party said on Tuesday.

"On Monday, we will have a first reading during a special session of the budgetary committee," with the possibility of a second reading on Wednesday, said Volker Kauder, who leads Merkel's CDU/CSU grouping in the Bundestag, during a visit to Brussels.

He said a "decision" in the lower house was "possible" next week, with the upper house, the Bundesrat, also meeting on Friday, May 7.

The legal basis for handing over the money, worth almost 11.2 billion dollars, "must also be approved by the Bundesrat," Kauder added, rejecting notions that Berlin would seek to postpone a decision until after a vital regional election for Merkel's coalition on May 9.

Opinion polls have shown strong opposition in Germany to anything that resembles a bailout, although the Greek finance minister has pointed out that Germany will be able itself to borrow at lower rates the money it then loans out to Greece at a profit over three years.

© 2010 AFP

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