German Parliament Okays Euro Bailout Expansion

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The German parliament overwhelmingly approved expanding the bailout fund for European countries that are deeply in debt.

The plan, which passed Thursday 523-85, is controversial in Germany. The country has kept its financial house in order while other European countries have overspent for years.

While the plan helped strengthened Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government, it highlighted tensions as many dissenting members insisted the bailout measures won't help.

"Despite all arguments, the first bailout did not make the situation for Greece better, but worse," Frank Schaeffler, a member of parliament for the Free Democrats, said.

"Expanding the fund will make the situation even worse," he added.

Nevertheless, the measure was passed even without opposition support. 

"This shows the clear determination of the coalition on this issue," Rainer Bruederle, parliamentary leader of the Free Democrats, said after the vote. "We have made an important decision for Europe."

The bailout fund, which will likely be passed by Germany's upper house of parliament, cannot take effect until it's ratified by all 17 eurozone nations.

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