Greek parliament approves austerity package

@CNNMoneyInvest February 12, 2012: 8:13 PM ET
As protests rage in Athens, Greek lawmakers have approved austerity cuts that are key in order for the nation to secure additional bailout funds.

As protests rage in Athens, Greek lawmakers have approved austerity cuts that are key in order for the nation to secure additional bailout funds.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Amid a growing public backlash, the Greek Parliament voted Sunday to approve a package of austerity reforms, marking a key step toward securing a second bailout for the debt-riddled nation.

The vote clears one of three hurdles the Greek government must overcome to qualify for a second bailout worth €130 billion from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, collectively known as the troika.

Greece needs the money to avoid a potential default on a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March.

The reform program includes job and salary cuts for government workers, pension reforms and other measures to reduce government spending.

Union-backed protests in Athens continued on Sunday. The protests had devolved on Friday as hooded youths began throwing stones and launching Molotov cocktails at the police, who responded with stun grenades and teargas.

Greek political leaders had hammered out an agreement on the program last week. But euro area finance ministers were not satisfied and set out additional conditions for Greece to meet before they sign off on more bailout money.

In addition to securing parliamentary approval, the government needs to identity another €325 million in spending cuts. And political leaders must provide assurances that the program will be implemented even after elections are held later this year.

Assuming the conditions are met, euro area finance ministers are expected to endorse the program at a meeting this Wednesday.

The Greek government has come under fire from top EU officials for the lack of progress it has made toward paying off its debts and restructuring its economy.

The nation has struggled to follow through on the conditions of its 2010 bailout as the Greek economy has sunk deeper into recession.

Greece is also widely expected to seal a deal next week with private sector creditors is to write down €100 billion worth of Greek government bonds and execute a debt exchange that would leave investors with a loss of up to 70%.

U.S. stocks tumbled Friday as renewed concerns about Greece prompted investors to lock in profits following the market's recent run.

The threat of a disorderly default by Greece has roiled global financial markets off and on for the last two years. But tensions in European sovereign debt markets have eased this year following aggressive moves by the ECB. To top of page

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