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Greek parliament approves 2013 budget

The Greek parliament approved the 2013 budget involving fresh spending cuts even as 10,000 protesters rallied outside parliament.

Greece anti austerity strike media blackout november 5 2012Enlarge
Journalists march during a demonstration as part of a 24-hour media blackout of print, broadcast and electronic media on November 5, 2012 in Athens, as a banner calling for a 48-hour general strike on November 6 and 7, 2012 is seen at left. Public transport and media workers opened a week of strikes in Greece on November 5, contesting fresh austerity measures needed for a lifeline from creditors which are due to be presented by the government to parliament. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Greece's parliament today approved the 2013 austerity budget as more than 10,000 protesters rallied against the latest round of spending cuts. 

Despite strong opposition from major trade unions and many Greek citizens, the budget – key to Athens receiving $40 billion of international loans needed to avoid insolvency – was backed by 167 votes to 128, the BBC reported.

"With today's vote, we put an end to the Grexit talk," said Simos Kediglou, using the expression coined to refer to Greece's forced exit from the euro zone, Reuters reported.

The budget – a pre-condition for Greece to receive the next installment of the bailout from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – predicts a sixth consecutive year of recession for the crisis-hit country. 

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The vote came just four days after a set of spending cuts and tax hikes for the coming year barely passed through the 300-member Parliament, the Associated Press reported

Even though Greece's ruling coalition received enough votes to pass the controversial budget, it does not guarantee that the so-called troika of lenders will release the loans Athens needs to stave off bankruptcy.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a German newspaper on Sunday that he and other international lenders would not be pushed into giving Greece more of its bailout, according to the AP. Germany is the largest lender in the bailout.  

"We all ... want to help Greece, but we won't be put under pressure," Schaeuble told weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag, according to the AP. 

The troubled Greek economy is expected to deflate by 4.5 percent next year, according to the BBC.  Public debt in the country is expected to reach 189 percent of the GDP. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/121111/greek-parliament-votes-2013-budget