Greek Government passes more austerity measures
In the midst of huge public protests, last week the Greek parliament with a majority of 153 out of 300 MPs, has approved more budget cuts, tax increases and a new privatization fund to manage almost all state property in order to get further loans for the banks and the business sector from European creditors.
The government hopes to incorporate an extra €1.8 billion in revenue and get the next tranche of funds to pay IMF loans, bonds held by the ECB coming due in July, and decreasing state debt.
Greece's European creditors are expected to disburse €11 billion ($12.3 billion) following an assessment of the country's third bailout program. Under the terms of a memorantum agreed last year, the international lenders will provide as much as €86 billion in extra loans.
"Greeks have already paid a lot, but this is probably the first time the possibility of these sacrifices being the last is so evident," said Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Parliament before the vote. The PM expects the country’s economy to grow three percent next year.
The reforms involve new taxes on alcohol, tobacco, fuel, internet usage, cars, hotel stays, as well as an increase in the basic value-added tax rate from 23 to 24 percent.
The new austerity package was voted in by the 153 parliamentarians of the Governing SYRIZA and ANEL parties.