Greek Parliament Set To Vote Reforms To Secure Bailout Deal

bailout deal-greekThe Greek parliament is set to vote on a set of reforms needed to secure its bailout deal. The vote is expected to pass with the support of opposition parties.

But Greece’s public sector union is planning to protest against the measures.

The bill lawmakers would vote on Wednesday to cover rules for dealing with failed banks and speeding up the justice system.

If MPs approve the financial and judicial reforms, Greece would be able to press ahead with negotiations for an 86 billion Euro bailout from its creditors.

The Greek Health Minister, Panagiotis Kouroumplis, said “We are making an effort to have fewer dissenters”.

He said there were doubts about whether the new measures could pull the recession-hit economy out of its impasse.

“But since we agreed, we must implement them.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), confirmed on Monday that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of 2.05 billion Euro and was no longer in arrears.

The repayments, and another for 4.2 billion Euro to the European Central Bank due on Monday, were made possible by a short-term EU loan of 7 billion Euro.

German MPs Debate Bailout Over Greece Dept Crisis

greece-bailoutGerman MPs have started debating a motion on whether to allow negotiations on Greece’s €86bn (£60bn) bailout deal.

Germany is one of several Eurozone states that must Approve the bailout before the rescue deal can go Ahead.

Opening the debate, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “predictable chaos” if deputies did not back the plan.

The deal is expected to be passed despite opposition from the left and some members of her conservative party.

Greek MPs have already voted in favour of hard-hitting austerity measures required for a third bailout deal.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised the level of emergency funding available. This has paved the way for Greek banks, which shut nearly three weeks ago, to reopen on Monday.

But credit controls limiting cash withdrawals to €60 a day would only be eased gradually.

Eurozone ministers have also agreed a €7bn bridging loan from an EU-wide fund to keep finances afloat.

Chancellor Merkel told MPs ahead of Friday’s vote that the deal was hard for all sides, but said it was the “last” attempt to resolve the crisis.

“We would be grossly negligent, indeed acting irresponsibly if we did not at least try this path,” she said.

A number of Eurozone countries require parliamentary approval to go ahead with bailout talks, including Austria, which is also voting on Friday. Both the French and Finnish parliaments have already backed the deal.

Meanwhile, there have been fresh calls for Greek debt relief measures from International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, echoing a call from Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras.

Nigeria, Greece Sign Ship Acquisition Deal

shipNigeria and Greece have signed a deal that will enable Nigerian ship owners to own vessels that would be transferred to them by their Greek counterparts.

At a ceremony held recently in Lagos, Nigerian ship owners were offered 40 ships of various tonnage and class from Greece, with ownership transfer after a period of 24 months.

Nigeria imports about 1.7 billion litres of petroleum products each month but does not own a single vessel to participate in the global maritime trade.

This new vessel acquisition agreement will help Nigeria to protect its maritime industry and ensure indigenous participation in the shipping business worth about three trillion dollars annually.

Nigeria and Greece are two countries on two different continents faced with socio-economic troubles.

Greece faces another crucial decision this Sunday to sort out a multi-billion euro bailout deal with the European central bank.

Greece To Submit Economic Reform Plans To EU

greeceGreece is set to submit a list of economic reforms demanded by its creditors to extend the country’s bailout programme on Tuesday.

The proposals had been due by late Monday night as a condition of the support from the European Union (EU), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Greece needed to present its plans as a condition for extending its bailout program for an additional four months, in a deal struck with Euro zone partners on Friday.

It was painted by the country’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a victory for the Greek people, though it does little to reduce its financial obligations.

The list is understood to contain pledges to raise more in tax from the country’s top earners and from a crackdown on smuggling.

“In the Commission’s view, this list is sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point for a successful conclusion of the review.”

“We are notably encouraged by the strong commitment to combat tax evasion and corruption” he said.

A German tabloid, Bild, reported that the Greek government hoped to take €2.5bn (£1.8bn) more from powerful Greek tycoons, citing sources close to the hard-left government.

A similar amount would be drawn from back taxes owed to the state by individuals and businesses, Bild said.

However, the document is also said to include commitments on raising the minimum wage and protecting pensions.

The pledges highlight the difficulties faced by the Syria government, as it must be seen to be honouring its election pledges on ending austerity and raising living standards while also keeping commitments to its creditors.

In return for its new agreement in Brussels, Athens had to pledge not to compromise its fiscal targets and had to abandon plans to use some €11bn (about £8bn) in leftover European bank support funds to help restart the Greek economy.

The Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras staged a climbdown on Friday to win the four-month extension.

Tsipras had promised to scrap the program when he won election last month.

ECB Launches New €5 Banknote

The European Central Bank issued the new five euro bill in Bratislava, Slovakia shortly after the ECB lowered interest rates by 0.25 percentage points.

The new bill is the first of the “Europa” series after the five euro banknote was officially unveiled by ECB President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt on January 10, 2013.

According to the ECB, ‘the new banknotes are to be introduced gradually over several years, in ascending order. The denominations remain unchanged: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.”

The Germany head of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International and the president of the German tax payers association recently demanded in newspaper interviews to abolish the €500 bill which, according to them, facilitates money laundering, corruption and tax evasion.