BERLIN, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament will vote on the release of the latest tranche of aid for Greece next week and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives are confident it will be approved, a senior conservative lawmaker said on Tuesday.
“We want to do this in next week’s sessions,” said Michael Grosse-Broemer, the conservative’s parliamentary floor leader.
He told reporters he was optimistic that the conservatives and their Free Democrat (FDP) junior coalition partners would manage a majority, saving Merkel the humiliation of relying on the pro-bailout opposition Social Democrats (SDP) and Greens.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble will report back to the parliamentary leaders of the main parties early on Wednesday on the outcome of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers late on Tuesday, which is expected to approve a payment to Greece.
The German government is required to get the approval of the Bundestag before it can formally approve a euro zone decision on unfreezing payments to Greece under its second international aid package.
Schaeuble has proposed bundling together the next Greek aid tranche due in December with the overdue payments to give Greece a total of 44 billion euros, which would be paid on December 5.
“Greece has made substantial efforts in the last 2-1/2 years and should take note of what Greek politicians, the country and the people have achieved in terms of budget consolidation and structural reforms,” said senior conservative MP Michael Meister.
Euro zone ministers will also discuss how to proceed with reducing public debt in Greece, whose economy will contract for the sixth year running in 2013, based on a debt sustainability study by the “troika” of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank.
Germany has floated an idea that Greece could buy back half of its 60 billion euros’ worth of bonds remaining in private hands offering 25 cents for one euro.
But Germany remains adamantly opposed to European governments accepting a “haircut”, or forced losses, on the loans they have offered Greece, with Merkel arguing this would be illegal.