• publish: 22 July 2015
  • time: 1:28 pm
  • category: International
  • No: 394

Parliament of Greece to vote on more reforms

Greek lawmakers are set to vote Wednesday on a second package of reforms needed to secure crucial bailout funds from Europe.

The package on the table Wednesday includes measures meant to guarantee bank deposits and speed up and curb the cost of the legal process.

The vote is seen as less controversial than last week’s package, which included spending cuts and pension reforms but managed to pass despite a rebellion within the prime minister’s own Syriza party.

The pro-government newspaper Avgi has called Wednesday’s vote a “crash test” for the Syriza party that could determine whether the Tsipras government survives or whether the prime minister is forced to resign.

On Monday, Greece reopened its banks for the first time in three weeks, while also increasing taxes and making critical loan payments to two of its international lenders.

Depositors swarmed into banks to tap their accounts. While the restrictions were eased, withdrawals were still limited to $455 per week.

In the three weeks prior, the government had allowed withdrawals of only $65 a day from streetside cash machines.

Greek consumers and tourists also faced 13 to 23 percent higher taxes on a series of consumer goods, including coffee, restaurant meals, taxis and ferries to Greek islands. The levies were part of a new austerity plan that Greece was forced to accept in order to reopen talks with the lenders on a $93 billion bailout, which would be its third in five years.

Greece also managed on Monday to make payments of more than $6.5 billion to two of its creditors, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, after securing more than $7 billion in temporary financing from a European emergency fund.

Once it is repaid the more than $2 billion it is owed, the Washington-based IMF said it “stands ready to continue assisting Greece in its efforts to return to financial stability and growth.”

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