Greek lawmakers officially approved an austerity plan today, as rioters clashed violently with police just outside of parliament.
A barely-there majority of Greece’s 300-member parliament voted in favor of a five-year package that will include spending cuts to public services and tax increases. It will also, perhaps most importantly, meet the terms demanded by the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) as preconditions before allowing Greece access to $17 billion it will need in lending to survive the summer. Work on a second bailout will also begin again, now that the austerity plan has been approved.
A second vote on the implementation of the country’s $112 billion package of cuts, taxes and asset sales is scheduled to be held tomorrow.
“With today's approval by the Greek Parliament of the revised economic program, the country has taken an important step forward along the necessary path of fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing structural reform. But it has also taken a vital step back—from the very grave scenario of default,” said European Commission President José Manuel Durão Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in a joint statement following the plan’s approval. “This was a vote of national responsibility.”
Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer