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Greek parliament passes cuts plans
Date 29/06/2011 18:04  Author webmaster  Hits 1103  Language Global
29 JUN 2011

AP

The Greek parliament has voted narrowly in favour of imposing more belt-tightening on its people in a bid to pay the nation's debts and stave off looming bankruptcy.

The Greek parliament has voted narrowly in favour of imposing more belt-tightening on its people in a bid to pay the nation's debts and stave off looming bankruptcy.

Opposition MPs heeded last-minute pleas from Prime Minister George Papandreou, that there was no alternative if the country was to continue receiving bail-out cash from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

A "No" vote would have been catastrophic for the Greek economy and for the crumbling credibility of the euro - but the relief in Brussels and in other eurozone capitals will be short-lived if mounting public anger prevents the new austerity package taking effect.

The vote went through in the Athens parliament against a backdrop of rioting in the streets outside as police clashed with protesters opposing more tax hikes, spending cuts and a privatisation sell-off demanded by the country's international creditors.

New IMF chief Christine Lagarde had called for national unity in Greece to get to grips with the continuing economic crisis.

This afternoon's decision was one of the toughest Greek MPs have had to take for years - but another crucial vote comes tomorrow when the Parliament must decide on how to implement the 28 billion euro (£25 billion) package.

[...]

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said: "This vote is a real life Greek tragedy, keeping the country imprisoned inside an unsuitable currency union and with unserviceable debts.

"Greek democracy is dead. Don't be surprised if increasing numbers of Greek people take matters into their own hands."

The result was hailed as a "vote of national responsibility" by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

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