After 4 months of negotiations, protests, and intense debate, the Greek parliament finally announced late Wednesday that it has passed the austerity measures needed to keep their dwindling economy afloat.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has stated after the final vote:
“Greece today has taken a big, decisive and optimistic step. A step towards recovery. I am very pleased,”
The approval came through with a weakened majority as seven parliament members voted against the measures. However, signs of relief are already appearing on trade markets around the world. Mandarins in Brussels stated that the ballot would provide much needed funds that would keep the country from bankruptcy.
“The issue is to keep the country in the euro. These are the very last painful measures, if further fiscal adjustment is needed it will come from clamping down on tax evasion and cutting public expenditure.”
The are outside looked like war zone, with water cannons being used to disperse demonstrators who were attempting to throw petrol bombs at police while the loud bangs of stung grenades echoed through the streets.
With more than a quarter of Greece’s labor force is out of work, the main opposition against the measures Alexis Tsipras (who leads the radical left Syriza party) criticized the government for “leading the Greek people to catastrophe and chaos.” He further stated:
“Very soon you will be back in this parliament again listening to the programme policies of a new government,”
Greeks reacted with anger and violence outside, openly questioning if Samaras’ measures would be the last cut in salaries citizens would have to face. Kostas Mitas, a 48 year old tradesman who was protesting outside parliament walls said:
“Until now Greeks have been asleep. We haven’t really reacted at all, but Greeks are unpredictable and I’m afraid that they might wake up suddenly. For the moment these measures are just hypothetical but when they start to be felt we could see a lot of violence.”
Many activists are claiming that the measures wouldn’t be able to be enforced, with two million Greek citizens out of work and the rest struggling just to survive.
What do you think of Greece’s austerity measures? Will the plan work or will it bring the country to financial ruin?