Greek Parliament to Vote on Bailout Deal Ahead of Eurogroup Meeting

World » EU | August 14, 2015, Friday // 08:29
Bulgaria: Greek Parliament to Vote on Bailout Deal Ahead of Eurogroup Meeting Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos at the parliament committees, in Athens, Greece, 13 August 2015. Photo: EPA

Following an overnight debate, the Greek Parliament is set to vote on the third bailout programme ahead of the scheduled meeting of eurozone finance ministers later on Friday.

Tax rises, pension and other spending cuts are among the reforms, which Greece has to implement in order to be granted a new bailout of about EUR 85 B.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed confidence that the parliament will approve the bailout despite the opposition of senior members within his SYRIZA party.

The MPs have to approve a memorandum of understanding before the Eurogroup can endorse the deal, the BBC reports.

It is vital for Greece to reach agreement on new financial aid before August 20, when a debt repayment of about EUR 3.2 B to the European Central Bank (ECB) falls due.

In previous votes on the bailout reforms, MPs of the main ruling party SYRIZA have expressed their firm opposition to the government.

Former Energy Minister and leader of the far left faction of SYRIZA Panagiotis Lafazanis called for a new movement to fight the deal with creditors.

However this dissent should not present a serious problem since the main opposition pro-European parties are generally in favour of the bailout deal.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and other ministers defended the new bailout programme in parliament on Thursday, daily Kathimerini informs.

Tsakalotos admitted that the package included “difficult measures”, but said that he has put effort into spacing out their implementation to reduce the impact, with the most austere measures to be implemented in 2017.

The finance minister stated that in case parliament voted against the bailout, Greece would have to agree to a bridge loan at the meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

The Eurogroup will have to choose between approving a three-year bailout for Greece or a EUR 6.04 B bridge loan, which would cover the immediate financial needs of the country.

The Greek government and the European Commission (EC) seem to be in favour of the bailout.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on the European partners of Greece to consider debt relief for Athens, which will allow for Greek debt to become more sustainable.

The latest figures, which were released on Thursday, surprisingly showed that Greece registered an economic growth of 0.8 % in the second quarter of the year just before capital controls were introduced.

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Tags: greece, bailout, reforms, Syriza, Alexis Tsipras, Euclid Tsakalotos, Panagiotis Lafazanis, EC, creditors, IMF, ECB, bridge loan, debt, Eurozone, Eurogroup

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