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Greek unity stretched to limit over austerity bill


Greek unity stretched to limit over austerity bill


The Greek parliament has approved a deeply unpopular austerity bill to secure a second bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

But the 130 billion euro rescue package comes at a price many in the country think too high.

Angry debate in the parliament leading up to the crucial vote stretched the unity of the Greek government to the limit. Deputies who refused to back the austerity bill have been expelled from their parties.

The bill sets out 3.3 billion euros worth of cuts including the loss of 15,000 public-sector jobs, and a 20 per cent slash in the minimum wage.

If the vote had gone the other way Greece would not have been able to service its debt which would have lead to a catastrophic default next month and certain withdrawal from the eurozone.

Last week the EU and the IMF promised the funds needed but in return for a clear commitment from Greek political leaders that they will implement the reforms whoever wins an election, likely to be held in April.

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