Austerity expands in Greece
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:39 p.m.
ATHENS — Greece's parliament narrowly approved a new batch of austerity measures early on Thursday, including thousands of public-sector job cuts and transfers, demanded by the country's creditors to keep vital bailout loans flowing.
Lawmakers in the 300-seat house backed the cutbacks in an article-by-article vote, with two of the governing coalition's 155 deputies failing to back crucial articles.
It was the first major test for conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras since a left-wing party abandoned his coalition government last month.
Greece has been kept out of bankruptcy since it started receiving rescue loans in 2010 from the International Monetary Fund and other countries using the euro, but austerity measures imposed in return have caused a dramatic increase in poverty and unemployment.
The new legislation will put 12,500 public-sector staff, mostly teachers and municipal workers, in a program that subjects them to involuntary transfers and possible dismissals. It will pave the way for 15,000 layoffs by the end of next year.
City halls across the country have been closed this week, with uncollected trash piling up on the streets, and unions held a general strike on Tuesday against the proposed cuts.
“I fully understand the hardship the Greek people are going through during the great crisis,” Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said during the debate. “But I am fully convinced that the path we have chosen is correct.”
About 3,000 people protested outside parliament in central Athens before the vote, chanting anti-austerity slogans in a third consecutive day of protests.
But the reaction — in the midst of the summer holiday season — was subdued compared to previous, often violent demonstrations that brought tens of thousands into the streets.
The measures include a ban of all demonstrations in the city center, including the area outside parliament that has been the focus of past violent protests.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ukraine control of bases erodes
- Investigation into missing Malaysia flight centers on 2 men who boarded with stolen passports
- Ukraine control of bases erodes
- Investigators chase ‘every angle’ in missing Malaysian jet
- Autopsy details sicken Pistorius
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Taliban threatens to disrupt presidential election in Afghanistan
- Jailed Egyptian activists allege abuse by prison guards
- Van der Sloot to be extradited to U.S. in 2038
- Israelis kill Jordanian judge at border checkpoint
- Syrian rebels reportedly release nuns held since December