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Greek parliament approves massive bailout plan
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Friday that a bailout deal reached with the country’s worldwide creditors will take Greece forward as it will create a more stable financial system without harming bank depositors.
Earlier on Friday, a majority of Greek lawmakers voted in favor of receiving the rescue package, which can help the country avoid defaulting on its debts and remain in the euro zone.
Tsipras told lawmakers that the bailout package is a “necessary choice” for the nation, despite unwelcome tax hikes and spending cuts.
The deal, which surrenders powers over huge areas of economic and social policymaking to Greece’s worldwide creditors, also has to be ratified by a number of national parliaments, including Germany’s – a process Athens wants completed in time for it to make a major €3.2bn payment to the European Central Bank on 20 August.
Finance ministers from the eurozone were meeting in Brussels yesterday expecting to give their final blessing to lending Greece up to 85.5bn after the parliament in Athens agreed to stiff conditions overnight.
“There’s a bit of a Catch 22 that we need to solve”, said Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb, whose government was among those most ready to favour a Greek exit from the euro before a last-minute deal struck by EU leaders a month ago.
A senior lawmaker, Makis Voridis, from the opposition New Democracy said his party would vote against Tsipras’s coalition, raising the odds it would be toppled.
The mounting discord within Syriza is threatening to split the party and could lead to early elections.
“I do not regret my decision to compromise”, Tsipras said as he defended the bailout from euro zone and worldwide Monetary Fund creditors in parliament.
Eurozone finance ministers welcomed the vote, despite the difficulties.
Tsipras has long argued Greece can not repay all its debts and demanded a partial write-off.
Assuming approval by the German and other parliaments, 13 billion euros should be in Athens next Thursday to pay pressing bills and a further 10 billion will be set aside at the European Stability Mechanism, earmarked to bolster Greek banks’ capital.
The cash will be made available via loans over the next three years.
Even after the Greek vote, the bailout deal faces hurdles.
“Thus, it is equally critical for medium- and long-term debt sustainability that Greece’s European partners make concrete commitments”.
To qualify for its third bailout in five years, Greece must agree to sweeping changes to the way it manages its economy.
The bailout was only passed with the support of opposition parties. “We undertook the responsibility to stay alive over choosing suicide”.
However, several Eurozone countries have previously said they oppose any additional debt relief for Greece.