Germany Votes to Approve 22.4 Billion Euro Bail-out Plan for Greece

Germany 's lower house of parliament has voted to approve a 22.4bn euro (£19bn) bail-out plan for debt-ridden Greece, despite widespread public opposition.

The Bundestag passed the bill after a fiery debate in which Chancellor Angela Merkel was savaged by her critics. The bill was passed by 390 votes to 72, with 139 abstentions, BBC News reports.

"We must defend the stability of the common European currency. That is what this is all about," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in the lower house parliament in a debate before the vote. "And at the same time we are defending the European Union. That is the decision we are taking today, in a time of great uncertainty among people and on financial markets, not just in Europe."

Opinion polls have shown a majority of voters oppose lending Greece the 22.4 billion euros (28.2 billion dollars), but Merkel's coalition has enough votes in the upper house to ensure it will pass -- for now, AFP informs.

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