Greek Parliament Approves Government's Bailout Reform Proposals

Southeast Europe | July 11, 2015, Saturday // 10:44|  views

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (C) delivers his speech during a parliament vote concerning Greece`s proposal to the lenders, at the parliament in Athens, Greece, early 11 July 2015. Photo: EPA

The Greek Parliament approved on Saturday the latest reform proposals, which the government in Athens submitted to the eurozone late on Thursday.

The proposed package of spending cuts, pension savings and tax increases, which Greece has to fulfill in order to be granted further bailout, garnered an overwhelming parliamentary support.

A total 251 out of 300 MPs voted in favour, 32 voted against, eight abstained, while seven MPs were absent.

According to a eurozone official, who requested anonymity, the international creditors also assessed the proposals positively, daily Kathimerini reports.

However the voting in parliament also demonstrated some ruptures within the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Seventeen MPs from the ruling coalition did not support the plan, among them being parliament speaker of SYRIZA Zoi Konstantopoulou and the radical left Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis.

These divisions could weaken the PM's grip on power and lead to difficulties when implementing any of the announced reforms.

The discussion on the new proposals began shortly before midnight on Friday and lasted through the early hours on Saturday.

The recently appointed Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in an opening speech that at present Greece was in a better position than it had been before the July 5 referendum, when Greek voters rejected the terms of a previous bailout proposal.

However the new reform proposals are almost identical to those that creditors had suggested on June 26 and which were overwhelmingly rejected by Greek voters in the referendum.

The proposals are to be discussed at a meeting of the Eurogroup on Saturday, which will be followed by a Euro summit and special meeting of the European Council on Sunday.

The new reform proposals have received a mixed reception among EU member states with French President Francois Hollande expressing a positive attitude, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted that tougher measures should be included.

Analysts have noted the increasingly hardening position of Germany and the Netherlands in the negotiations and there are even expectations that Germany will oppose the proposals at the forthcoming meeting of the eurozone finance ministers on Saturday.

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Tags: greece, bailout, reform, parliament, Alexis Tsipras, Syriza, creditors, Eurozone, Eurogroup, francois hollande, Angela Merkel, Germany, Referendum


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