In Greece, the Parliament voted new austerity measures

© AFP 2017 / Meid Aris in the Greek Parliament in Athens. Archival photoIn Greece, the Parliament voted new austerity measures© 2017 AFP / Aris Messinis

The Greek Parliament ahead of the Eurogroup meeting on 22 may voted in favor of the introduction of new austerity measures, the adoption of which was demanded by international lenders for a positive evaluation of the Greek program of reforms.

The law was passed with the votes of the ruling coalition. When necessary for the adoption of 151 votes-voted by 153 deputies from the ruling coalition of SYRIZA and ANEL («Independent Greeks»). The Parliament’s 300 seats. The vote was nominal.

The opposition opposed the law, supporting only a single article — which, at the request of the creditors, cancels privileges at the taxation of the deputies of the Greek Parliament and calls them to ordinary citizens.

Far-right party «Golden dawn» was removed from the discussion of the bill and arranged for her Deputy to a fight and sent a letter with a statement that he voted against the entire bill.

When discussing the leader of the largest opposition party New democracy Kyriakos Mitsotakis recalled the promises Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras given to them on January 25 that «in no case will not be legalized new austerity measures even one Euro». However, Tsipras then changed its position, stating that the government is ready to hold a «mixed policy, but with zero financial consequences.»

The law provides for cost-saving measures and countermeasures, which include a number of tax benefits and assistance to some sectors of the population, mostly families and children, and, according to the government, negate the negative effect of the policy of belt-tightening. The law, in particular, envisages a reduction of 18% of pensions from 2019, lower wages, cuts in social benefits and tax increases, the collective dismissal of workers, determined their order, and control measures are also planned reform in the energy sector, privatization of enterprises and determined the medium-term financial strategy for the years 2018-2021.

The Greek government hopes that the Eurogroup may 22, will give a positive assessment of the progress of reforms, and this will unlock the next tranche of loan under the third programme of assistance and will pave the way for the participation of Greece in the quantitative easing program of the ECB. In addition, Athens is waiting for a final agreement to reduce the national debt. Meanwhile, it is possible that the assessment will not be closed may 22 and will be moved at the meeting of the Eurogroup on 15 June. The decision prevented, in particular, differences between the IMF and Berlin on the Greek debt.

Greece in July will have payments of over € 7 billion in loans. Greece depends on foreign aid, since it was unable to service debt of more than 320 billion euros, or 180% of GDP. For his service Greece signed with its creditors a third program of financial aid, allocating $ 86 billion euros of loans. Until now the only output is the ESM.

The continuation of the policy of belt-tightening caused a sharp reaction in Greek society. 17 may was the General strike, demonstrations in Athens was attended by over 15 thousand people. On Thursday, the protests continued this morning, despite the rain, in the center of Athens were pensioners, and shortly before the vote on Syntagma square before Parliament was going to a rally. A group of anarchists rioted – threw Molotov cocktails and stones at police. The police used tear gas. During the riots, was arrested two people and detained one.

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