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Parliament passes urgent austerity package by slim margin while PM states that it was a "decisive, optimistic step towards recovery'
Greece's Parliament in the early morning hours on Thursday passed a Memorandum-mandated austerity package worth 13.5 billion euros that envisions further cuts in public sector salary scales, pensions and tax hikes, along with labour sector liberalisation and the opening of various so-called "closed" occupations.
The single-article draft bill was ratified in the 300-MP Parliament with a slim majority of 153 votes for and 128 against, with 18 voting present. Only one MP did not vote.
The Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stated after the stormy parliament plenary session that a "major, decisive and optimistic step towards recovery," was made.
Samaras also said that the passing of the omnibus bill on "Approval of the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework 2013-2016 - Urgent Measures for Application of Law 4046/2012 and the Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy Framework 2013-2016", was a prerequisite "so that we may find jobs for our children, for the prospect to exist for all the Greeks to see better days", adding that the next step is the approval of the 2013 budget (on Sunday), opining that "this will go well, too".
The premier at the same time said that attention now, after Monday (Eurogroup meeting) will focus on the sole goal of development "which can happen only with a lot of hard work, coordinated action, with investments -- a major factor -- with denationalizations, which are necessary, a positive necessity for Greece, and in general with moves that will give internally, a change of psychology and outside the message the Greece has changed page".