Finance

Greek Parliament approves 2018 budget

By Tony Rigopoulos

ATHENS

Greek lawmakers approved the government’s 2018 budget in a midnight parliamentary vote Tuesday.

The budget promises a primary surplus as high as 3.82 percent of gross domestic output through new measures expected next year, above what lenders have set.

Greek GDP is expected to grow by 2.5 percent in 2018.

Nevertheless, Greeks are expecting to see further pension cuts as well as sharp rises in their direct and indirect taxation. Laws suspending union rights are expected to also be put to parliament vote in 2018.

Members of parliament have been debating the 2018 budget for more than three days.

Speeches were delivered by the heads of all parties, including Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, head of main opposition party New Democracy.

In a heated discussion in parliament, Tsipras said this is the last budget that will be voted on before Greece exits the guardianship of the memorandum between the country and its lenders.

“It is the first time after eight years that Greece overcomes an era of harsh austerity and deep recession. Greece now recovers its economic self-reliance. It recovers its prestige in the international arena,” Tsipras said.

In his speech, Mitsotakis said “a clean exit from the memorandum will only happen if we do what Cyprus, Ireland and Portugal did to get rid of their memorandums.”

Mitsotakis also declared that his party will manage to return to power in 2018, implying that the Tsipras administration will collapse before the end of its term.

One hundred and fifty-three members of parliament voted in favor of the coalition government’s budget and 144 voted against it. Three members of parliament were absent during the vote.


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