- Thursday, June 14, 2018 7:51 PM
Athens, 14 June 2018 (MIA) - Greece's parliament on Thursday passed a fast-track reform package to unlock bailout funds and wrap up a fourth and final review of its loan programme as it seeks more debt relief from its official creditors next week, Reuters reports.
Greece is due to exit its latest bailout programme in August and will then have to rely on financial markets to cover its borrowing needs.
The country has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 179.8 percent, the highest in the 19-nation euro zone.
Athens is keen to pass the final review of the country's compliance with reforms prescribed in its bailout before a euro zone finance ministers meeting on June 21.
A green light on the review would release about 12 billion euros ($13.97 billion) of new loans from Greece's latest 86 billion euro bailout, its third since 2010.
The final payment from the bailout funds would add to a cash buffer the Greek government is creating and could serve as a fall-back option for refinancing needs.
Lawmakers passed the reform package 154-to-144 in the 300-seat parliament. It was endorsed by lawmakers of the leftist-led alliance while all other opposition parties voted it down.
"This government smothered Greeks with taxes. It crushed growth and pushed the middle-class to poverty," said conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis during a heated debate on the reforms bill.
"You created a large mass of desperate people who are drowning in debt and have no hope for the future," he said.
Athens has agreed to adhere to a post-bailout fiscal trajectory that targets primary budget surpluses - excluding debt servicing outlays - of 3.5 percent of GDP until 2022 and of at least 2.0 percent thereafter.
This gives the government little room for manoeuvre for tax relief unless it fiscally outperforms, generating even larger budget savings.
The reform package legislation includes measures to expedite privatisations in the energy sector and tweaks in real estate taxes.
It also outlines measures that will go into effect in the post bailout period such as extra pension cuts in 2019 and a lower tax exempt threshold in 2020. lk/19:49
All Rights Reserved.This material may not be stored, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in any form, except with the prior express permission of Macedonian Information Agency.
- 4:27 PM | Failure to obtain start date for EU accession talks, may affect name deal: Osmani tells Realnews
Failure to obtain start date for EU accession talks, would cause disappointment, but also consequenc...
- 3:44 PM | 236 applications submitted at Fund for Innovations first call
236 applications from micro and small-sized enterprises (SMEs) for investment projects were submitte...
- 2:24 PM | The Gin Game play to be performed within Skopje Summer Festival
Drama Theatre Skopje will perform Sunday evening The Gin Game play by Donald Lee Coburn, directed by...
- 2:06 PM | WC 2018: FIFA fines Argentina, Croatia federations for fans’ conduct in Nizhny Novgorod
The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has fined football associations of Argentina and Croatia for disturb...
- 2:00 PM | Sekerinska sends letter to NATO counterparts asking support for Macedonia’s membership invitation
Following the agreement reached with Greece, Defence Minister Radmila Sekerinska sends letter to 29 ...