German parliament approves 22.4bn Greek aid bill
The German parliament voted Friday to approve 22.4 billion euros (28.5 billion dollars) in aid as part of a joint EU- International Monetary Fund rescue of debt stricken Greece, DPA reported.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition, with the support of the Green party, carried the vote, which passed 390 votes in favour, 72 against and 139 abstentions.
"We must defend our common European currency ... and at the same time defend the whole European project," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the assembly before the vote.
The Bundestag vote comes after global markets tumbled overnight on fears over the euro's stability, and ahead of an EU summit later Friday to sign off on the complete rescue package of 110 billion euros to 2012.
The bill is now due to be considered by the Bundesrat, or upper house of parliament representing the 16 federal states. Passage is virtually assured, however, as a majority of those states' leaders have already said they will approve the bill.
President Horst Koehler would then sign the bill into law later Friday.
The largest opposition party, the Social Democrats, abstained from the Bundestag vote, after their attempts to have stricter regulations for financial markets bound into to Germany's approval of the aid package were rejected by the government coalition.