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Greece Debt Crisis: Lawmakers Approve Reforms as Basis for Talks

PM Alexis Tsipras acknowledged harsh austerity measures such as tax hikes and cuts to pension costs was far from his party's pre-election promise.
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Greek lawmakers have approved a government motion seeking authorization for reform proposals as a basis for negotiations for a third bailout in talks with international creditors this weekend.

The 300-member parliament passed the motion by majority vote, but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras saw some of the lawmakers of his left-wing Syriza party vote "present" instead of approving the motion — a form of abstention indicating dissent from their own party line.

Speaking to Parliament earlier, Tsipras acknowledged the proposals, which include harsh austerity measures such as tax hikes and cuts to pension costs, was far from his party's pre-election promises.

But he said it was the only chance for Greece to win a much-needed bailout that will include measures to address the country's debt and will provide adequate financing.

The proposed measures, including tax hikes and cuts in pension spending, are certain to inflict more pain on a Greek public who just days ago voted overwhelmingly against a similar plan.

But the new proposal, if approved by Greece's international creditors, will provide longer-term financial support for a nation that has endured six years of recession.

Without a deal, Greece faces the immediate prospect of crashing out of Europe's joint currency, the euro. It would be the first nation to do so.

If the proposal is approved, Greece would get a three-year loan package worth nearly $60 billion (53.5 billion euros) as well as some form of debt relief. That is far more than the 7.2 billion euros left over from Greece's previous bailout that had been at stake in the country's five-month negotiations until last month.