German lower house approves EU's fiscal pact

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 29, 2012 3:30 PM
German lower house approves EU's fiscal pact

BERLIN (Reuters) - The lower house of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, resoundingly approved on Friday the EU's new fiscal compact that sets tough budget rules championed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The compact was backed by 491 votes, with 111 votes against and six abstentions, meaning Merkel easily won the required constitutional two thirds majority.

The outcome of the vote was never seriously in doubt after opposition parties agreed to back the fiscal compact in return for growth and job creation measures.

The Bundestag was also set shortly to vote on the euro zone's permanent bailout scheme, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

The upper house, or Bundesrat, is expected to approve both pieces of euro debt crisis legislation later on Friday and then President Joachim Gauck must sign them into law - but only once the constitutional court has given the go-ahead.

(Reporting by Gareth Jones and Stephen Brown)