Greece passes 2014 budget based on recovery prediction

Dec. 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM   |   0 comments

ATHENS, Greece, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Greek Parliament Sunday passed a national budget for next year that the prime minister said was based on a modest economic recovery.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Parliament before the vote that next year "will be a year of recovery after six painful years of recession."

The spending plan, which had the support of a conservative and socialist coalition, passed on a vote of 153-142.

The Wall Street Journal reported the budget was based on a larger-than-expected government surplus, which should bolster Greece's position in upcoming negotiations with major European creditors. The plan, however, includes additional cuts to public health programs and increased property taxes.

The additional spending cuts and tax hikes, however, have yet to be approved by Parliament. Some lawmakers have warned that their support for the budget was intended to keep the government functioning and that public support for another round of austerity was wobbly, the New York Times reported.

A key leftist lawmaker recently accused creditors of pushing austerity to the point it was creating a humanitarian crisis in Greece; however, influential European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel have urged the Athens government to stay the course despite the political headwinds, the Times said.

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