Greece to approve first new bailout reforms

Athens, October 16

Greece’s parliament was expected to approve later today a first batch of reforms and tax cuts stemming from its third EU bailout.

The vote, scheduled for around midnight, is expected to be won by leftist government of PM Alexis Tsipras, which has 155 lawmakers in the 300-seat chamber.

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has said the bill contains around a quarter of the measures agreed with EU creditors last month.

Out of 48 necessary reforms, around a dozen are included in legislation voted today, he said. “Approval is necessary for the disbursement of a two-billion-euro (bailout) instalment.”

Greece has agreed to a three-year, 86-billion-euro aid package. The legislation includes tougher terms for tax evasion and eliminates a number of early retirement loopholes.

Opposition parties have pledged to oppose the bill, which they say will pile further recession on the weakened Greek economy, and unions are to hold protests in Athens in the evening.

Train workers have also called a two-hour work stoppage today against plans to privatise state operator Trainose. Greece is also slated to announce a detailed overhaul of its struggling pensions system in November, and complete a recapitalisation of its top banks by the end of the year.