German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged his country's lawmakers to approve Friday Greece's four-month bailout extension, saying it was no easy decision but necessary.
"I'd like to ask parliament, each lawmaker, not to reject the request by the finance ministry, which wasn't easy for me either, because this would do great harm to our people and our future," Schaeuble told the German parliament ahead of a vote.
Despite misgivings among some legislators, the Greek reprieve was expected to easily pass the Bundestag lower house of parliament where Chancellor Angela Merkel's left-right "grand coalition" has a commanding majority and opposition parties have also signalled support.
Greece on Tuesday secured the four-month extension to its 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) bailout after gruelling negotiations with creditors, averting a potentially calamitous end-February deadline that could have seen Athens face default, bankruptcy and ultimately an exit from the euro.
The new government of left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras published a list of proposed reforms focused on tackling tax evasion and corruption as well as greater government efficiencies in order to unlock several billion euros left in the programme in the coming months.
"This is not about new billions for Greece," Schaeuble told parliamentarians.
"This is not about changing the programme. This is about granting more time to successfully conclude this programme."
Fresh tensions emerged Thursday between Germany and Greece in the debate over Greece's debt of 320 billion euros ($365 billion) -- equivalent to 175 percent of its annual economic output -- and most of which is now owed to its European partners.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis this week again raised the issue of renegotiating Greece's debt mountain, prompting Schaeuble to express his "disbelief" that the idea had been mooted.
"The discussions before and after the elections in Greece didn't make this decision any easier, and neither have the discussions of the past few days and hours, to put it mildly," Schaeuble told lawmakers.
He reiterated that in requesting an extension, Greece also had to commit to sticking with its terms.
Schaeuble, 72, an inveterate pro-European, said help for Greece was necessary in a Europe guided by the principle of solidarity, a message often repeated by Merkel.
"We are a community in Europe," he said, stressing that this meant that "those who are currently better off" agree to help other states experiencing difficulties.
"We, and especially Germany, will have a good future in the 21st Century only if European integration remains successful and if we stand united in Europe," Schaeuble said.