Greeks to vote on second set of reforms needed to secure the bailout bill

Unions are plotting protests in the Greek capital

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The Independent Online

Unions are plotting protests in the Greek capital as the Greek parliament gathers to vote on a second set of reforms needed to secure a third bailout package.

The vote on Wednesday is the second since Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, brokered a last minute bailout deal in Brussels ten days ago, after 17 hours of talks with Greece’s European lenders.

The Greek civil servant’s union, ADEDY, have organised protests against further austerity starting at 5.30pm BST in front of Athen’s university, according to reports.

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A week ago, the Greek parliament passed through similar reforms raising VAT and boosting the pension age. Tsipras’s political opponents secured the passage of the bill. The extent of the revolt in Tsipras’s own party, in which 32 ministers voted against reforms, resulted in a cabinet reshuffle a few days later.

Tsipras has been trying to rally his party in the run up to the second vote by telling them the Greek people have “pinned their hopes” on staying in the eurozone.

“Up until today I've seen reactions, I've read heroic statements but I haven't heard any alternative proposal,” Tsipras told MPs on Tuesday night, according to Reuters. “Syriza as a party must reflect society, must welcome the worries and expectations of tens of thousands of ordinary people who have pinned their hopes on it,” he reportedly said.

31-Tsipras-AP.jpgThe second set of reforms relate to structural changes rather than budget cuts. They include:

• A new code of civil procedure to speed up court processes

• Enshine the bank recovery and resolution directive in Greek Law – this is EU-wide guidance to guarantee bank deposits of up to €100,000 and prevent taxholders from bearing the brunt of another banking crisis

Other reforms, such as phasing out early retirement and tax rises for farmers have been delayed until August.

Greece cleared its outstanding debt to the IMF and met a bond repayment to the ECB on July 20, thanks to an emergency short term loan from the EU.

Its next deadline doesn’t come until August, when it must repay another €3.2 billion to the ECB, and another €1.5 billion to the IMF in September.