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Greek parliament approves 2019 budget, the first since exiting bailouts

Greek parliament approves 2019 budget, the first since exiting bailouts
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By Nicoleta DrougkaPhilip Pangalos
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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras referred to the first budget of a free Greece after parliament approved the 2019 budget, the first since exiting bailouts

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Greece's parliament approved the 2019 budget, with 154 votes in favour and 143 against. In reference to the country's first budget since exiting the bailout programmes in August, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke of the first budget of "a free Greece".

"The country, at the end of 2018, is expected to compete two years of positive growth rates, with GDP growth reaching 1.5% last year, this year more than 2% and is expected to be even greater in 2019," he told parliament after the vote.

The head of the main opposition New Democracy party Kyriakos Mitsotakis referred to a catastrophic government and noted that voting against the budget is a vote against the government.

"What has remained is enhanced supervision, on a three monthly basis. No other country that has been subject to memoranda has had this. And unfortunately, untenable commitments as to the size of the primary surpluses. This is the informal fourth memorandum that we are talking about," said New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Earlier, there was a demonstration outside parliament, with citizens showing their dissatisfaction over the budget and government policies, calling for the abolition of all anti-worker legislation.

"Even though there are some positive measure in the budget for 2019 and the further reductions in pensions are not included, trade unions are not happy. They say that taxes are still a huge burden for workers and they ask for bigger salaries and more public spending in health and education," said Euronews correspondent Nicoleta Drouga.

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