Greek MPs approve austerity measures19/05/17Government
The Greek parliament has approved a controversial austerity package amid violent protests in Athens.
The austerity measures, which include tax hikes and pension cuts, were sought by Greece’s foreign creditors as a condition for a €7.5bn bailout loan and debt relief. Greece has already agreed widespread austerity measures for previous instalments of the bailout package, and Europe’s finance ministers will decide on Monday whether the country’s efforts have been enough to secure the release of the bailout.
Speaking to reporters after MPs agreed the new measures, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his parliament had fulfilled their commitment to introducing austerity measures, and he fully expected that Europe’s finance ministers would uphold their end of the deal: “We deserve and we expect from Monday’s Eurogroup a decision regulating debt relief which will correspond to the sacrifices of the Greek people.”
In Athens, there were violent clashes between police and a small group of anti-austerity protestors; around 10,000 people are thought to have taken part in the main protest.
Meanwhile, recent Eurostat figures show that Greece’s GDP shrank by 1.2% in the last quarter of 2016 and a further 0.1% in the first quarter of 2017, tipping the country back into recession.