Austrian government fails in vote to increase euro bailout fund

This is from the Austrian daily Der Standard:

According to parliamentary correspondence, the Finance Committee of the National Council on Wednesday did not not approve the massive increase to 21.6 billion euros in Austrian liabilities for the provisional euro rescue fund (EFSF) sought by the government coalition. A two-thirds majority was required. FPÖ and BZÖ voted against it. Green Party Finance spokesman Werner Kogler said he would not stand behind "a rash majority procurement".

At issue was the planned increase in the euro rescue fund to 780 billion euros from the present 440 billion. Austria’s share was to be 21.6 billion euros.

Those parliamentary documents recorded the following discussion:

In his response to MPs Central Bank Governor Ewald Nowotny said that a purely restrictive policy for Greece could not be the solution. However, the growth slowdown, the US and emerging markets like China are experiencing, creates new problems. Greece must make a correction to its long-time deviations. But this will be a painstaking process. A particular problem is the Principle of unanimity for the EFSF program; this makes the European institutions very cumbersome.

Indeed. We are seeing the effect of unanimity now. One country can block anything in Euroland. And effectively, Austria has done that now.

Update: I am hearing stories that this action was not definitive. I will update the post when I get word of what other plans the Austrian government has to target a final EFSF vote.

Update 2: The WSJ is reporting that:

The parliamentary committee only rejected some procedural matter and plans to address the EFSF expansion later.

Update 3: The Guardian has reported that the vote was a procedural vote on whether to fast-track the final vote on increasing the temporary European rescue fund. This is the vote that failed.

  1. Marton says

    Clarification: The parliament’s finance committee rejected adding the item to the agenda of a meeting today. That required a two-thirds majority. Austria’s parliament will now call a special meeting for the finance committee that will have the item on the agenda (the date of which will be set by parliament).

    The two-thirds majority is only required for the change of agenda; the vote on the EFSF upgrade itself only
    requires a simple majority – which means it will very likely pass with the vote of the governing coalition.

    1. Edward Harrison says

      Thank you, Marton. I will add that when I am in front of a computer.

Comments are closed.

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