Athens on the edge
Greece’s parliament has passed a second set of measures proposed by creditors that would make the country eligible for another bailout. This second vote paved the way for negotiations on the third rescue package worth $90 billion.
Before the vote, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras emphasized that he’s not happy with the reforms creditors have imposed.
Here’s some analysis from the BBC’s Europe corespondent Chris Morris:
More than 30 MPs from the governing coalition voted against the measures – but crucially for Alexis Tsipras the number of rebels was slightly lower than last week.
Mr Tsipras was defiant telling parliament that he didn’t really approve of the deal that had been imposed upon him by the rest of the eurozone. But he stressed that it was the only way to keep Greece in the single currency.
Negotiations will now begin on approving the terms of a third bailout, with the aim of completing a deal by the middle of next month. It’s a tight timetable with scepticism on both sides.
And Mr Tsipras still has to decide whether a successful conclusion of negotiations should be followed by early elections.
Outside Parliament, the BBC reports, thousands of people demonstrated, some throwing gas bombs at police.
Greece failed to repay the International Monetary Fund $1.8 billion June 30, becoming the first developed nation to miss an IMF loan deadline. It’s not an official default yet, nor is Greece officially bankrupt, but the missed payment compounds an already fraught financial situation.
So how did Greece rack up $360 billion in debt with no way to pay it? Here are a few explanations:
- A “notoriously inefficient tax system” and complex pension system.
- The Syriza political party rise in power in January, promising to reverse austerity measures.
- “Unsustainable debts” amassed by pension payments and other public sector benefits.
And then there’s the human face of the crisis. From sole breadwinners to sandwich-makers to pharmacists, Greeks are struggling to keep afloat. They tell their own stories to Marketplace’s Stephen Beard.
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