Greek Parliament Adopts Austerity Cuts amid Protests

November 8, 2012, Thursday // 04:22
Bulgaria: Greek Parliament Adopts Austerity Cuts amid Protests
Pedestrians stand in the street near smashed glass after clashes between riot police and angry protesters on the evening of 07 November, in central Athens, Greece, 08 November 2012. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The Greek parliament on Thursday narrowly adopted a fresh round of austerity measures, despite violent protests across the country.

The austerity package aimed at securing the next round of bailout funds was passed with the support of 153 MPs in the 300-member parliament.

The EUR 13.5 B bill envisages a two-year increase in the retirement age from the current average of 65, as well as salary cuts and labor market reforms, including cuts to holiday benefits, notice periods and severance pay.

Earlier, riot police fired tear gas towards protesters when they were attacked with petrol bombs in Athens.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned before the vote late on Wednesday that without the bailout Greece would run out of money this month and face "catastrophe".

"Many of these measures are fair and should have been taken years ago, without anyone asking us to," Samaras commented.

"Others are unfair - cutting wages and salaries - and there is no point in dressing this up as something else," the prime minister said, adding that Greece was, nevertheless, obliged to take the measures.

MPs must now pass a revised budget on Sunday before eurozone finance ministers meet next week to approve EUR 31.5 in fresh loans from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Greece needs to avoid imminent bankruptcy.

Samaras has warned that without this money the country will be bankrupt by 15 November.

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