Chancellor Angela Merkel is defending concessions she made at a European Union summit, telling German lawmakers that help to struggling countries and banks will still come with strings attached.
Merkel told Parliament it was a "sensible decision" to allow countries that pledge to implement reforms and budget policies demanded by the EU's executive Commission to tap rescue funds without having to go through tough austerity measures _ a concession to Italy in particular.
German media headlines portrayed the outcome as a political defeat but Merkel insisted that view was a "misunderstanding."
Parliament votes later Friday on approving Europe's budget-discipline pact and its permanent rescue fund _ but not the summit decisions. Merkel made clear those plans will also go to lawmakers later.