Austerity measures approved by Greece’s parliament
(Athens) – The Greek parliament has adopted a new round of austerity cuts which the government hopes will secure a pledge of debt relief and loan disbursements by EU-IMF creditors this month.
The bill entails €4.9 billion ($5.4 billion) in pension cuts and lower tax breaks in 2018-2021 and was passed by a majority of 153 lawmakers from the ruling coalition.
A total of 128 voted against the measure and 17 MPs from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party were absent during the debate as they were barred after one of their members shoved a rival in the house, prompting a showdown, AFP has reported.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras grudgingly accepted to legislate another round of cuts and lower tax breaks — applicable in 2019 and 2020 respectively — to unlock the cash payment ahead of looming debt repayments in July.
In return, Greece will introduce poverty support measures — such as subsidies on rent and medicine — over the same period of time.
Athens hopes the disbursement of €7 billion from existing bailout loans will be approved by a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on May 22.
“We are in the final stretch … the biggest likelihood is that we’ll have a deal on May 22 or a few days later,” Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told.
Greece is seeking a clear eurozone pledge later this month on measures to ease repayment on its huge public debt, which represented 179 percent of annual output at the end of last year.