Greece’s Syriza government rushes fourth austerity program through parliament
21 June 2018
Nearly three years after Greece’s ruling party Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) contemptuously defied an overwhelming “no” vote in a referendum on its austerity policies, it is once again preparing to impose harsh measures on workers, retirees and young people.
Last week, on June 14, the Greek parliament voted in favour of a legislative package which claims to mark Greece’s exit of the so-called “rescue program” set for August 20. But in fact, the new legislation is the prelude to further social attacks that go far beyond all previous austerity programs.
Of the 298 deputies present, all 154 representatives of the governing coalition of Syriza and Anel (Independent Greeks) voted for the package, while the opposition parties voted against. According to the German business paper Handelsblatt, Greece has to implement a total of 88 reform and austerity measures demanded by its international creditors—the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The measures will result in additional pension cuts of up to 18 percent beginning January 1, 2019. At the same time, pension contributions will be increased. Greek pensioners have already been hit by at least 23 rounds of cuts in recent years. They have protested against the cuts on a number of occasions, only to be attacked by police using tear gas. Due to the drastic level of unemployment, entire families are now dependent on the pensions of parents or grandparents. The new pension cuts will hit all of society.
On January 1, 2020, the tax-free allowance will be reduced from around 8,600 euros a year to between 5,700 (unmarried) and 6,600 (for families with…