February 29, 2012

Greek parliament agrees further cost cutting

Greece's parliament has passed a further 3.2bn euros ($4.3bn; £2.7bn) of spending cuts, a move required before the country can start to receive a second bailout package.
With an extra 130bn ($174bn; £110bn) of loans available from the International Monetary Fund and fellow eurozone nations, MPs voted for new pension cuts and a reduction in the minimum wage.
Greece needs the fresh loans to be able to repay 14.5bn euros of bonds.
These bonds mature on 20 March.
Greek MPs voted 202 to 80 in favour of the latest cutbacks, as the country seeks to avoid a disorderly default on its sovereign debt.
Further budget cuts are due to be voted on later on Wednesday, while the Greek prime minister, Lucas Papademos, is set to visit Brussels to seek final approval for the second bailout.
As a condition of the second loans package, Greece also requires banks and other financial firms to agree to take a 53.5% loss on their Greek sovereign bonds.
If backed by Greece's creditors it would wipe out 107bn euros (£90bn; $142bn) of the country's debt.
The Greek government's austerity measures are continuing to spark protests on the streets of Greece's major cities.

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