Germany to vote on EU rescue programme by Sept 23

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Reforms to Europe's emergency financial rescue fund will be put to a vote in the lower house of German parliament by September 23, according to a timetable published on Tuesday.

The German government is to approve by August 31 measures that were decided at a eurozone summit in Brussels on July 21.

Debate over the draft text would begin early next month in the Bundestag and put to a final vote by September 23, according to Peter Altmaier, parliamentary head of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party.

Chief among the measures under consideration is an enlarged role for the European Financial Stability Facility, which is to be allowed to buy government debt on public markets and provide emergency aid to banks.

The EFSF is also, under certain conditions to provide credit lines to eurozone countries, along the lines of the International Monetary Fund, before they are forced to seek emergency financing.

Because eurozone member parliaments must approve the decisions, some fear the process could be drawn out, while financial markets are pressing political leaders for rapid solutions to the chronic debt crisis.

© 2011 AFP

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