German Parliament OKs fiscal pact, euro fund

June 29, 2012
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses lawmakers on the decisions of the EU summit at the parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Friday, June 29, 2012. Chancellor Merkel faces a vote on the eurozone's new permanent rescue fund and the EU's fiscal pact. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) — The German Parliament's lower house has approved the new European budget-discipline pact and the eurozone's permanent €500 billion ($623 billion) rescue fund.

Lawmakers voted 491-111 Friday with six abstentions to back the discipline pact — the so-called fiscal compact. It's a cherished project of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

They voted 493-106 in favor of the rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism. There were five abstentions.

The plans had support from two opposition parties. A two-thirds majority was needed for the fiscal pact because it involves an internationally binding commitment to keep Germany's deficit low.

Parliament's upper house, which represents Germany's 16 states, is expected to approve both plans later in the evening.