German authorities allow bailout for debt-ridden eurozone nations

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BERLIN — German lawmakers are expected to approve new powers for the eurozone bailout fund in a major step toward tackling the bloc’s sprawling sovereign debt crisis.

Passage in the lower house looks assured, thanks to support of opposition lawmakers.

Thursday’s vote has been hotly debated in Germany. The issue has highlighted tensions in Merkel’s center-right coalition, which has been strained by members who have balked at the cost of propping up the eurozone’s strugglers.

Germany is the biggest economy in the 17-country currency zone and has to pay up more than others in boosting the firepower of the bailout fund, the so-called European Financial Stability Facility.

Printed on September 30, 2011 as: German authorities allow bailout for debt-ridden eurozone nations