Greece parliament approves austerity measures

[JURIST] The Greek Parliament [official website, in Greek] approved austerity measures late Sunday, securing a second bailout for the country to avoid bankruptcy amidst rioting and violence in downtown Athens. A total of 199 lawmakers voted for the measures [Bloomberg report] with 74 members of parliament voting against the package. Protesters clashed with police outside parliament after the vote, looting and burning buildings in reaction to the new budget measures that will eliminate public sector jobs and lower wages and pension plans. Prime Minister Lucas Papademos [official profile] denounced the violence, regarded as the worst since 2008, which continued into Monday. Papademos had warned [Reuters report] that rejecting the package would jeopardize Greece's standing in the European community. Finance ministers from euro-based countries, who previously demanded that Greece pass budget cuts, will meet this week to decide whether to approve a second aid package for the country.

In July, UN Office of the Commissioner on Human Rights [official website] Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina, warned [JURIST report] Greece that implementation of previous austerity measures to solve its economic crisis [BBC backgrounder] could result in serious violations of basic human rights. The Greek Parliament passed previous austerity measures with $40 billion in budget cuts, in addition to selling $72 billion in state assets, under pressure from them International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the European Central Bank [official websites], which want to stave off Europe's first sovereign default. The Greek debt crisis is not only a European issue, but tied to the global market. JURIST Guest Columnist Dimitrios Ioannidis argued in June that the deregulation of US financial markets coupled with the strategic use of complex financial instruments has played a significant role [JURIST op-ed] in the Greek debt crisis.

 

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