GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Online Extras

November 12, 2012

Greece passes austerity budget

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers approved the country’s 2013 austerity budget early today, an essential step in Greece’s efforts to persuade its international creditors to unblock a vital rescue loan installment without which the country will go bankrupt.

The budget passed by a 167-128 vote in the 300-member Parliament. It came days after a separate bill of deep spending cuts and tax hikes for the next two years squeaked through with a narrow majority following severe disagreements among the three parties in the governing coalition.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pledged that the spending cuts will be the last Greeks have to endure.

“Just four days ago, we voted the most sweeping reforms ever in Greece,” he said. “The sacrifices (in the earlier bill and the budget) will be the last. Provided, of course, we implement all we have legislated. “

“Greece has done what it was asked to do and now is the time for the creditors to make good on their commitments,” he stressed.

Athens says that with the passage of the two bills, the next loan installment, worth about $40 billion, should be disbursed. Without it, the government has said it will run out of cash on Friday, when $6.35 billion worth of treasury bills mature.

Finance ministers from the 17-nation eurozone are meeting in Brussels later today, with Greece high on the agenda. However, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has indicated it is unlikely that the ministers will decide on the disbursement at that meeting.

“We all ... want to help Greece, but we won’t be put under pressure,” Schaeuble told the weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Schaeuble said the so-called troika of debt inspectors likely won’t deliver their report on Greece’s reform program by today. The creditors also want to see what the debt inspectors have to say about Greece’s debt sustainability.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Online Extras

NDN Video
8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Toddler climbs into vending machine Much-Anticipated 'Gone Girl' Trailer Finally Debuts! (VIDEO) Dog and Toddler Wear Matching Outfits in Adorable Photo Series VP Biden: "World witnesses ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things" It's Official! Michael Strahan Joins "GMA" Blood Moon Time-lapse Actress Lake Bell Goes Topless The Five Weirdest Local Taxes in America Applicants Vying for 'World's Toughest Job' Get Heartwarming Surprise Awkward: Crist catches Lt. Gov. insulting him on camera NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse US Airways Tweets Graphic Photo of Nude Woman Behind the scenes of the Marathon anniversary photo shoot American Airlines Responds After Girl Tweets Alleged Terror Threat 'Joke' Charlie White's "Dancing" Mistake Olympic Great & Baltimore Native Michael Phelps Ends Retirement; Eyes Rio 2014 NFL Draft: Potential Booms And Busts William and Kate Squash Baby No. 2 Rumors With a Wine-Tasting Trip Who Showed Up at Coachella?