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Greece parliament approves new tax legislation

Greece's Hellenic Parliament [official website] approved new tax legislation on Saturday so that the country can pay back loans so that it can continue receiving financial aid. The new legislation would bring the new top-tier tax level to 42 percent [Al Jazeera report] for individuals earning more than $56,000 a year, a drastic change from the previous top rate, which was 45 percent on incomes over $132,000. Greece's parliament seeks to boost state revenues by $3 billion through simplifying tax scales, reforming family benefits, increasing taxation on deposit interest and expanding the tax base to include groups such as low-earning farmers. Since Greece's economic crisis [BBC backgrounder] in 2010 it has been kept solvent by rescue loans from the European Union (EU) [official website] and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [official website]. In exchange for the bailouts, Greece has implemented harsh austerity measures such as the new tax legislation to reduce its debt and budget deficit.

Several EU member states face financial instability which may have detrimental effects on other member states. Last June, Ireland voters approved [JURIST report] the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance [text, PDF] aimed at improving fiscal discipline and promoting greater financial information disclosure between EU member states because of its current financial situation. The treaty was signed [JURIST report] by leaders from 25 EU member states in March. Only two countries, the UK and the Czech Republic, did not sign the measure. A year after the financial crisis of 2008, a European Council [official website] decided to create [JURIST report] a new European financial supervisory and monitoring system which seeks to balance the need of coordinating efforts on financial supervision, particularly in times of crisis, with the autonomy of each member nation over their own financial stability.

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