BERLIN (AP) -- With the future of the euro in the balance, German lawmakers were expected Friday to approve the massive rescue deal to save the common currency and contain the debt crisis -- a signal that the finance minister said was needed to reassure jittery markets.
Both houses of parliament were scheduled to vote on the euro750 billion (nearly $1 trillion) package drawn up two weeks ago and Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government currently holds a majority in each.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, is to contribute between euro123 billion and euro147.6 billion in loan guarantees. It comes hard of the heels of a separate package to rescue Greece -- which was already unpopular, given that Germans dislike the idea of paying for others' financial missteps.
"We have to put into effect what we have agreed, because markets will only trust when it is actually in effect," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers. "The reality is that the markets look more at Germany than at Cyprus or Malta ... so it is right, in order to win markets' confidence, that we decide so quickly."
Merkel had called for lawmakers' approval on Wednesday, declaring that "if the euro fails, then Europe fails." "We are not doing this out of generosity toward others; we are doing this in our own best national interest," Schaeuble said. "And this national interest means remaining integrated into a Europe growing further together."
Nearly two-thirds of German exports go to other eurozone countries, and "if we didn't have the common currency, we would have much less economic potential, less prosperity and less social security," he added.