Amid protests, Greece passes austerity reforms

May 09, 2016, 12:43 AM EDT
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
(Source: matthew_tsimitak/flickr)

Amid intense protests in the capital Athens, Greece’s lawmakers passed a package of tax and pension reforms, one day before the eurozone finance ministers meet to discuss international bailout funds for the country. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the overhaul, which was based on the core principle of social justice, will bring sustainability to the Greek system.

Trade unions, which are opposed to another round of austerity measures, held a three-day general strike on Friday, writes the BBC. As Greece’s parliament debated the reforms, thousands of protesters gathered on the streets of Athens and Thessaloniki. With demonstrations turning violent, police resorted to tear gas to disperse some of the protesters, who hurled petrol bombs at the security forces.

The latest reforms, which will slash pension payouts and raise taxes on those in medium and high- income slabs, come after a series of austerity measures that have burdened average Greek households over the past eight years, reports Al Jazeera. Greece has been forced to implement strict spending cuts in return for a $95bn bailout by the E.U. and I.M.F. in July last year.

Stating that his country has taken enough measures to qualify for a debt relief, Greece’s Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos called on the eurozone leaders to back the reforms and warned that another Greek crisis will not be in anyone’s interest.