The German Bundestag has voted to approve new powers for the European-wide fund for helping euro zone countries in trouble.
523 were in favour, 85 voted against and there were three abstentions.
The ballot means the European Financial Stability Facility or EFSF will be committed to boosting bailout guarantees to 440 billion euros – a figure that some critics say is still too low, and will inevitably have to be increased further down the line. Germany could provide more than 210 billion euros of the fund’s guarantees.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, said it was vital for the country to remain economically solid: “Europe depends on the strengths of the German economy, and that is why the solidarity of Germany is obvious. However, we must conduct the kind of financial and economic policy that will ensure we continue to be an anchor of stability and an anchor of growth in Europe.”
This vote was seen as the biggest test of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership in the six years she has been in power. Due to the overwhelming majority, she did not need to rely on support from the opposition.