Greece passes tax and pension reforms

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was first elected on an anti-austerity platform but later signed up to a bailout deal

Greece’s parliament has passed a package of tax and pension reforms.

The austerity measures will unlock more international bailout money for the country, which has been unable to access a loan instalment of €5bn (£4bn).

Before the vote, protesters in Athens threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas.

On Monday, EU finance ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting aimed at averting a new crisis in the eurozone.

The debate in Greece’s parliament lasted two days as MPs debated whether or not to install the unpopular pension and tax reforms.

Thousands of people demonstrated, mostly peacefully, in Athens and in the country’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki.

Three days of a general strike paralysed public transport and slowed the public sector and the media.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the leftist Syriza party secured enough votes to pass the measures, which will reduce some pension payouts, merge several pension funds, increase social security contributions and raise taxes for those on medium and high incomes.

Greece agreed to a third rescue package worth €86bn (£60bn) last year.

The International Monetary Fund and other European partners are demanding that Greece implement further austerity measures to generate nearly €4bn (£3.1bn) in additional savings – contingency money in case Greece misses future budget targets.

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Police came under petrol bomb attack from a small number of protesters on Sunday

Spending cuts

Eurogroup ministers from countries which use the euro will assess “a comprehensive package of policy reforms as well as the sustainability of Greece’s public debt” at their Monday meeting in Brussels, a statement says.

Prime Minister Tsipras was elected initially on an anti-austerity ticket but later signed up to Greece’s third international bailout since 2010. He has a thin majority with 153 MPs in the 300-seat parliament.

Last summer, the crisis peaked when Athens defaulted on its debt payments and raised the spectre of an exit from the eurozone.

Greece is already looking to implement spending cuts that will amount to 3% of the country’s gross domestic product or €5.4bn euros by 2018.

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