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Greek austerity bill passed in principle

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 02:36

Oct. 20 - Tens of thousands of angry workers continue protesting an austerity bill that has been passed in principle by Greece's parliament, as a draft troika report reveals a worse than expected economic outlook. Kirsty Basset reports.

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Tens of thousands of Greeks line the streets outside the country's parliament, a day after a controversial austerity bill was passed - in principle. The bill will mean wage cuts for public sector workers, job cuts for others, a reduction in pension payments and more tax hikes. Although the bill IS expected to be passed after a final vote late Thursday, demonstrators have vowed to continue fighting. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) REPRESENTATIVE OF THE GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE COMMUNIST LABOUR UNION, CHRISTOS KATSONIS, SAYING: "The bill may have been passed in principle but the workers will still be here today demanding in their masses with determination and with their slogans that the articles of the austerity package are not passed." Inside parliament, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said there were no easy options. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) FINANCE MINISTER EVANGELOS VENIZELOS SAYING: "The Greek people, society, that is demonstrating against the harsh measures and sacrifices have turned against us because we are voting in favour of them. If we did not vote for them and took the country into a dead end - they would attack us even more and they would criticise us for not taking responsibility and not having the strength to save the country." According to a draft report obtained by Reuters, the so-called troika of EU and IMF inspectors will recommend Greece be paid its next installment of 8 billion euros of aid as soon as possible. It also said Greece's downturn was worse than expected and suggests mid-term growth forecasts may need to be revised down. It comes ahead of an EU summit at the weekend, which market analysts increasingly doubt will come up with a comprehensive plan to tackle Europe's debt crisis. Fidel Helmer is from Hauck and Aufhaeuser. (SOUNDBITE) (German) FIDEL HELMER, PRIVATE BANK HAUCK & AUFHAEUSER, SAYING: "Experience has shown that the results of these summits which take place almost on a weekly basis are rather disappointing. After German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble announced that this summit too is far from presenting a miracle cure, markets reacted disappointingly. We can only hope for a positive surprise on Monday." But according to a German newspaper report, the German government hasn't ruled out postponing the summit, amid disagreement between France and Germany over how to expand the euro zone bailout fund. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.

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Greek austerity bill passed in principle

Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 02:36