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    A masked demonstrator prepares to throw a petrol bomb to riot police outside the parliament building as Greek lawmakers vote on the latest round of austerity Greece has agreed with its lenders, in Athens, Greece, May 18, 2017.

    Violence Erupts as Greece Passes More Austerity Measures to Appease EU Creditors

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    Greece's parliament has passed new austerity measures, including further cuts to Greek pensions and lower tax breaks. The package unlocks another Greek economy bailout necessary to repay the US$8.3 billion euros of debt that is due in July. However, the vote has been met with violent clashes on the streets of Athens.

    Greece is facing the sizable bill of US$8.3 billion (€7.5 billion) euros in a couple of months, and they've been caught short.

    Like many times before, the Greek government has passed further swathe of austerity measures — deeply unpopular to much of the Greek electorate — in order to secure further financing from their creditors.

    They are a combination of EU institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who've been propping up the Greek state since the Greek debt crisis first engulfed Greece in 2010.

    As a condition of continuing the stream of cash in-flow, these international organizations, largely unaccountable to Greeks, have imposed continued austerity as a condition for their support.

    Greek pensions have been cut once more and taxes have been increased.

    Its left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in an unenviable quandary. He was elected in 2015 on a campaign of anti-austerity, but has been unable to wean Greece off it's reliance of outside assistance and the accompanying austerity requirements.

    Tsipras insisted that his latest legislation passage will enable Greece from summer 2018 to re-stabilize the Greek economy, and no longer need the intervention of the EU or IMF.

    However, opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the bill as "a nightmare" adding:

    "Our country is being turned into an austerity colony."

    A large crowd of anti-austerity protesters also voiced their disapproval clashing with riot police at a rally outside the Hellenic Parliament in Athens.

    On Thursday, May 18, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appealed to Greece's debtors to honor their side of the bargain and approve debt relief.

    "Greece has met the agreed requirements. The ball is in the creditors' court.

    "We expect and deserve that the Eurogroup agrees at meeting next week to review the Greek national debt, which will be in correspondence with the sacrifice of the Greek people," Prime Minister Tsipras said.

    Within EU institutions there has been some support and sympathy for the Greek government's position.

    Also on May 18, a cohort of MEPs expressed their frustration at the European Central Bank for what some described as undemocratic behavior.

    "Aside from dictating monetary policies across the eurozone, [the European Central Bank] has also inflicted years of austerity amongst the EU's southern member states," the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group (GUE/NGL) said in a statement.

    The powerful European Central Bank, which is based in Frankfurt and strongly influenced by Germany has faced numerous accusations of a lack of transparency over the years.

    Meanwhile, finance ministers from 19 EU countries are due to meet on Monday, May 22, to review Greece's progress on austerity reforms.

    The Greek government will need EU support if it is to be able to meet their €7.5 billion debt repayment deadline in July 2017.

    Related:

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    EU, IMF Teams Return to Athens for Tuesday Talks on Greek Austerity Reforms
    Tags:
    Greek economy, austerity, Greek debt crisis, debt, bailout, eurozone, economy, Eurogroup, Alexis Tsipras, Europe, Athens, Greece
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