Greece Passes Reforms|to Get Third EU Bailout

     (CN) – Days after a shaky agreement by EU leaders to save Greece from economic collapse, Greek lawmakers late Wednesday passed some reforms required to seal the deal.
     After a marathon weekend of talks in Brussels between the leaders of nations that use the euro as currency – known as the Eurogroup – and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, EU leaders on Monday agreed in principle to a third bailout for the Hellenic Republic that could amount to $95 billion over three years.
     The bailout – Greece’s third since 2010 – comes with huge strings, including tax increases and pension reform that Greek lawmakers had to pass by Wednesday in order for EU leaders to consider moving forward with the bailout.
     Greece’s leaders raised the retirement age to 67 and passed sweeping tax reforms late Wednesday, despite anti-austerity protesters throwing fire bombs at police in Athens and public employees staging strikes across the nation.
     The vote prompted several legislators to walk out or resign. Tsipras had told lawmakers he didn’t believe in the deal, but urged them to pass the reforms anyway.
     Also on Wednesday, the European Commission laid out its plan to spend over $38 billion by 2020 to prop up the Greek economy.
     The regulatory body, however, also noted that Greece has already received – and squandered – huge sums from the EU for projects that are “currently at risk of not being completed.”
     “Greece has already received more international financing than all of Europe did from the U.S. Marshall Plan after the Second World War,” said commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. “Following Monday’s euro summit agreement, the European Commission is willing to step this up even further to help Greece unleash a significant economic rebound and to give the proposed reforms the best chance to work: these 35 billion euros can help make Greece an attractive location for investment and give hope to especially the younger generation.”
     In order to reopen Greek banks that have been closed for weeks because of a dire lack of capital, the commission said it would be willing to advance some $547 million from the EU’s last budget cycle and proposed a short-term $8 billion loan through the EU-wide European Financial Stability Mechanism.
     Parliaments of EU member states still have to approve the Greek bailout, which could take months to complete.

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