German MPs end row to ratify fiscal pact

The German government and opposition overcame differences on Thursday to reach an accord paving the way for parliament to ratify the EU fiscal pact and bailout fund, opposition members said.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 21 Jun 2012, 5:10 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:45 AM

The head of the main opposition Social Democrats Sigmar Gabriel welcomed the agreement after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which hinged on opposition demands in return for its support for the fiscal pact.

The accord included measures for fostering growth and jobs, Gabriel said.

“Overall, a result that I can take to my group with some confidence and recommend agreement of the whole package,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the head of the SPD’s parliamentary group, told reporters.

The deal, following several weeks of negotiations between Merkel’s centre-right coalition and the opposition SPD and Green party, should allow parliamentary ratification on June 29.

The German parliament must pass the draft laws on the fiscal treaty, a new European budgetary rule book, with a two-thirds majority, meaning that Merkel needed to secure opposition backing.

However its quick passage, which the government aimed to see completed by the start of the summer recess on July 6, had been thrown into question by squabbling between the ruling parties and the opposition.

Opposition lawmakers had demanded pledges that Berlin would push for a disputed EU-wide tax on financial transactions and use the revenues from the levy to fund more growth-boosting measures.

The leader of the ecologist Greens, Cem Ozdemir, said the introduction of a tax on financial transactions would be “immediately tackled” following the agreement.

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