Syriza government in Greece passes more austerity
13 June 2017
Greece’s parliament passed further austerity measures last Friday prior to the Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers on June 15.
These come on top of a series of savage measures that were enacted last month, including additional cuts to pensions of between 9 and 18 percent, the reduction of the tax-free allowance from €8,636 to €5,681 as well as cuts in heating allowance, unemployment insurance and other benefits. The bill included measures designed to facilitate mass sackings as well as further sell-offs of public assets.
Friday’s measures were added to a draft bill on fishing regulations in an attempt to fast-track them through parliament. They included an amendment to last month’s legislation, which will see freezes on pension increases extended by one year until the end of 2022. This amounts to a cut of €250 million on pensions on top of the €500 million cut voted in last month. Another amendment specified that collective bargaining will not be automatically resumed after the European Union’s (EU) current €86 billion austerity for loans programme ends in 2018.
All these measures—140 in total—are demanded by Greece’s creditors as a precondition for the release of a €7 billion tranche it needs in order to pay off liabilities due in July. Greece’s overall debt burden remains at around €300 billion or 180 percent of GDP.
Additional measures demanded by the EU, such as the lifting of administrative restrictions on the privatisation of Hellenikon, the site of the former Athens international airport, will be enacted through a series of government decrees.
Passing the measures Syriza Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos justified their fast-tracking, declaring the…