Resounding victory for Merkel in vote over Spanish bailout

Ben Southwood
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ANGELA Merkel won yesterday’s key vote on an aid package for Spanish banks with a huge majority, suggesting that opposition in Germany to Eurozone bailouts is not as virulent as has been suggested.

The vote in the Bundestag was carried with 473 voting in favour, compared to 97 voting against – though the dissenters included 22 from Merkel’s own coalition.

The rebellion meant she fell short of the psychologically important “Chancellor’s Majority”, which would require 311 of her coalitions 330 representatives to vote with her, but broad support from opposition parties meant she carried the day anyway.

The majority were motivated by worries that Spanish instability could wreak havoc on the German economy and cause systemic problems for the Eurozone.

“Any problems in the Spanish banking sector are a problem for the financial stability of the Eurozone,” said German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

But dissenters believed that the generosity of the Spanish bailout was unfair, compared to the conditions for Greece and Portugal.

“The big countries in Europe get suitcases of money and the small countries in Europe get an austerity commissar,” said Frank Schäffler, a backbencher in the Free Democratic Party (FDP).