(Athens, Greece) – Over the weekend, the Greek parliament will vote on additional bailout reforms that could lead to further austerity measures. Parliament will meet on Sunday, which is two days before the finance ministers that are part of the Euro Zone will meet to determine whether or not Athens will qualify for additional bailout money. The new bailout reforms to be voted on include the tax increases that the international lenders are requiring of Greece that will lead to them approving the bailout.
The vote will determine whether or not they approve the 1% value added tax increase, which will cause the percentage to rise from 23% to 24%. Other reforms include an increase on fuel prices, tobacco and alcohol costs, liberalize the sale of the non-performing loans at banks across Greece in order to set up a privatization fund. They will also vote on whether or not they approve contingency measures that will only be utilized if Greece doesn’t meet its fiscal targets. Officials in Greece have said that if the contingency measures are activated, they will not impact the country’s lower class.
Alexis Tsipras, the Prime Minister of Greece, currently has 153 lawmakers in parliament out of 300, which is only a small majority. The country as a whole has been divided on how to handle the economic issues that have plagued the country since around the time of the first bailout in 2010. The international lenders, which includes the European Stability Mechanism, International Monetary Fund, European Commission, and the European Central Banks, hope that if the Greek parliament votes in favor of these measures, that the current bailout talks will be wrapped up by the end of May. The Eurogroup meeting will take place on May 24, 2016. Athens needs these bailout funds to help them pay off the loans given to them by the International Monetary Fund, state arrears, and the ECB bonds that will be maturing soon. The current bailout talks have dragged on for the past few months due to disagreements between the EU and IMF over Greece’s progress in managing its debt. The Euro Zone’s finance ministers have said that they would grant debt relief if Greece agrees to the austerity measures.