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Greece parliament approves reform bill to aid victims of austerity measures

[JURIST] The Greek Parliament [official website] approved a bill on Saturday which provides health insurance and municipality jobs to poor Greek citizens affected by the country's recent austerity measures. Last October, the Syriza-controlled [party website] government passed [JURIST report] more burdensome tax laws and a more cost-efficient pension program in order to satisfy foreign creditor requirements under a new bailout program. When Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras [official profile] was re-elected last September, he promised to implement new reforms as allowed by the EU/IMF [official website]. Though the reform bill was pulled last December due to a lack of consultation with the EU/IMF, the bill has finally been approved [Reuters report] in full. The new reforms follow weeks of recent protests by Greek professionals and farmers fearing further cuts to Greece's pension program. The Greek government and its foreign lenders plan to implement additional reformational changes under the bailout program by 2022.

The debt crisis [BBC timeline] in Greece began in 2009 with a down-grade of a credit rating, and in the following years, has led Greece to borrow hundreds of billions of euros. In August Greece agreed to the main terms of a draft bill [JURIST report] for a bailout that would provide about $95 billion to the country. In July Greece's parliament voted to accept [JURIST report] the economic reforms rejected by the government just one week prior. Earlier in August the country voted [JURIST report] not to accept the bailout deal offered by Europe. Also that week, as the country was preparing for the vote, protesters in Greece gathered [JURIST report] in the tens of thousands, holding rival rallies that drew attention to the split within the country as the referendum approached. In April nineteen eurozone creditors held a meeting [JURIST report] in Latvia to demand the completion of the economic reform program agreed to be Greece necessary to avoid a Grecian default or exit from the euro. Earlier that month the European Central Bank (ECB) expressed concerns [JURIST report] about Greece's draft law that prohibits the government from foreclosing on primary residences where borrowers can prove total wealth requirements as ripe for unscrupulous debtors to engage in strategic defaults without repercussions.

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