Greek lawmakers prepare bailout bill for Thursday vote
Greek lawmakers are finishing a draft bill for the country’s third government bailout package in five years, aiming for a vote before a meeting of euro zone ministers on Friday, August 14.
Lawmakers were finishing the draft Wednesday, with a vote expected on Thursday, after Greece and its international creditors agreed “in principle” Tuesday on broad terms of a new bailout.
European Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt, a key mediator of the talks, confirmed progress on a $94 billion package.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has asked parliament to convene an emergency session to vote on the new bailout deal. Greece needs the money by August 20, when it must repay about $3.5 billion in debt to the European Central Bank.
Greece has been in financial turmoil for more than five years and has already received two earlier bailouts. In exchange, the government has instituted austerity measures and sweeping economic reforms demanded by creditors.
Critics of the cutbacks say the measures have gone too far and stifled Greece’s already ailing economy.
The European Union and International Monetary Fund agreed last month to negotiate the new bailout package after Greece edged toward defaulting on its loans. The government took several steps to try to halt the financial crisis, including closing the stock exchange for more than a month, shutting banks for three weeks and instituting limits on the amount of money Greeks could withdraw.
(Hellenic Parliament building in Athens, photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)