Greece passes new pension, tax reforms in effort to please creditors

 Greece-passes-new-pension-tax-reforms-in-effort-to-please-creditors.  ATHENS, Greece, Greece’s Parliament approved pension overhaul and tax increases in an effort to please the nation’s creditors.

Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says “We have an important opportunity before us for the country to break this vicious cycle, and enter a virtuous cycle.” File photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo















The 153 lawmakers of the ruling Syriza/Independent Greeks government coalition approved the measure early Monday. Opposition parties in the 300-member Parliament voted against it.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to stop the “vicious cycle” of cuts and start a “virtuous cycle.”

However, among the top creditors, Germany says the debt burden doesn’t need to be changed much and the International Monetary Fund say it’s too severe.

The Eurogroup, a committee of eurozone finance ministers, were expected to meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss the plan.

The legislation includes austerity cuts that total $6.16 billion — 3 percent of gross domestic product. Taxes will be raised for high earners and tax-free thresholds will be lowered.

The pension reforms are opposed by Geek labor unions and other professional groups. Protesters demonstrated outside the Parliament Sunday.

IMF head Christine Lagardes in a letter to eurozone finance ministers on Thursday said Europe was attempting to make Greece reach too unrealistic a surplus.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos’ letter to other eurozone finance ministers Friday was “appealing to both your economic and political experience” to argue his government can’t be expected to pass even-tougher cuts.”

Last summer, Greece defaulted on its debt payments and raised the possibility of an exit from the eurozone.

By Allen Cone