Following a raucous debate with demonstrators massed before it, the Greek parliament on Sunday voted through a budget that has put it at odds with not only anti-austerity voters but the troika of creditors keeping the debt-stricken country afloat.
As unions gathered outside the 300-seat house protested against the blueprint, Athens’ ruling coalition signalled it would address objections raised by lenders at the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund on Monday.
“Five years into the crisis we are faced with another budget that will further impoverish ordinary Greeks,” said Yannis Panagopoulos, who heads Greece’s largest labour group GSEE. “Everything about it is wrong.”
The union, which represents workers in the private sector, had rallied protesters under the slogan that the proposed plan “destroys today and undermines tomorrow”.
Passage of the budget – considered a certainty given the government’s five-seat majority – is bound to further aggravate Athens’ increasingly strained relations with creditors.
But opponents also see eye to eye with the troika. Both have criticised the financial blueprint for being overly optimistic. After shrinking by more than a quarter in the past five years, the government predicts the Greek economy will grow by 2.9% next year. For the first time in four years hefty tax cuts are envisaged.
“Such goals are simply not achievable or sustainable, which means there will be even more austerity,” Panagopoulos said. “The government is not telling the truth.”
via The Guardian