Politicians in Greece have approved the national budget for 2013 which includes a fresh round of spending cuts. It cleared comfortably by 167 votes to 128.
Approval was a pre-condition for Athens to be granted a further 31.5bn euro EU/IMF loan needed to avoid bankruptcy.
“Greece has done what it was asked to do”, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told parliament, “and this has been acknowledged by everyone. Now it is time for the lenders to do what they promised, and they will do so.”
As the politicians debated, outside the people of Athens demonstrated. More than ten thousand rallied brought the streets to a standstill ahead of the vote.
“This budget will bleed the Greek people dry”, said one man, a civil servant. “It is just to provide capital for the banks and markets. That is why I am here, to let these oligarchs and the political elite, and the oligarchs in Brussels know that enough is enough.”
It could take some weeks before the eurozone green-lights the latest cash instalment. The decision to handout more bailout funds must go before some eurozone parliaments, including Germany’s.