VIENNA (AP) - Austria's parliament has approved the eurozone's permanent rescue fund, clearing the way for the country's broader participation in the 17-nation zone's financial crisis management.
The governing left-center coalition was supported by the opposition Green party to surpass the two-thirds of votes needed for approval Wednesday. Opposed were the rightist Freedom Party and the populist BZO, which argue that participation undermines Austrian sovereignty.
The euro500 billion ($630 billion) European Stability Mechanism fund is meant to be in place by this month, but a legal appeal launched in Germany last week by its opponents could delay or derail it because it cannot take effect without approval by Europe's biggest economy.
During pre-voting debate Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter compared the ESM to a "highly modern fire department that answers the call during financial crises."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
A tornado survivor finds an answer to prayer in the rubble. (Video)
Cuomo to Kardashian: You might be breaking the law.
Can you guess why this pigeon is the world's most expensive?
Clothes have a starring role at the Cannes Film Festival. (Photos)