by Aggelos Skordas
The Greek Parliament on Thursday approved yet another -or “the last”, according to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, package of strict economic reforms in order to finalise the review of the country’s final bailout program. The reforms, agreed with Greece’s creditors (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund), were passed with a narrow majority of 154 votes, while 144 lawmakers voted against and two were absent. The bill, which was on fast track, was backed by the ruling coalition of SYRIZA and Independent Greeks (ANEL).
The reforms package will see the country unlock the final tranche of 1 billion euros in August. The meeting of the Eurogroup where the terms of Greece’s exit from the third bailout program will be discussed is scheduled for June 21.
It should be noted that during the vote labor unions held protests in central Athens while bus, metro and bus services were disrupted due to work stoppages in protest over the new measures.
The series of fiscal measures, which includes tax hikes and pension cuts, were signed by then newly elected SYRIZA-led government in summer 2015 in order to receive a third bailout package worth some 86 billion euros.
Addressing the parliament plenum ahead of the vote, Tsipras said that “today’s parliamentary session has historic significance since, after eight years, we are voting on the last measures of the last review of the Greek program”.