On Friday, all euro members are expected to approve a 7 billion euro ($7.6 bn) Greece emergency loan to help the debt-ridden country manage its finances until a new bailout deal is made.
The Eurozone decision to provide further aid to Greece comes after the country’s parliament passed an austerity bill on Thursday, filled with tough measures that have been demanded by its creditors.
The vote was costly to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who encouraged his country to reject these very austerity measures in the recent Greek referendum.
The news of the deal kicked off protests in the streets of the capital in Athens, which quickly turned violent.
The vote passed by a landslide 229 to 64, with six abstentions, but the majority of those who rejected the bill were from the Prime Minister’s own party, Syriza, which had 40 vote against.
“Things have changed now,” said Mario Draghi, the President of the European Central Bank. “We had a series of news with the approval of the bridge financing package, with the votes, various votes in various parliaments, which have now restored the conditions for a raise in ELA (Emergency Liquidity Assistance).”
Draghi also stated that the European Central Bank would continue to operate under the assumption that Greece will remain in the Euro.
Germany for one, has indicated strongly that it wouldn’t be sorry to see Greece leave the common currency.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Thursday that Greece should leave the euro to gain better flexibility in handling its debt.
“We have not said that we will impose this,” Mr. Schäuble said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio on Thursday when asked about allowing Greece’s future with the euro. “We can’t, we don’t want to, and no one has suggested it. But it would perhaps be the better way for Greece.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), another major Greek creditor, criticized the Eurozone on Wednesday for its handling of the Greek crisis.
“Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far,” the fund said in a new report.
Greece requires at least 86 billion euros in assistance, and such a monumental sum makes hardliners in the Netherlands, Finland and most notably Germany, very nervous.[The Guardian][The BBC][POLITICO]