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Greek Parliament Passes 2016 Budget

Greek-ParliamentThe Greek Parliament approved the country’s 2016 budget that includes deep spending cuts and some tax hikes amid economic recession.

Early on Sunday, in a vote after a five-day debate in the 300-member Greek Parliament, the budget was passes with a majority of eight votes, 153 to 145.

The 2016 budget forecasts zero economic growth in gross domestic product this year while the projection for next year is 0.7 percent fall in GDP.

Despite spending cuts of 5.7 billion euros in public spending, including 1.8 billion euros from pensions and 500 million euros from defense and new tax increases of just over 2 billion euros, debt is forecast to grow to 327.6 billion euros or 187.8 percent of GDP from 180.2 percent in 2015.

The unemployment rate in the country is expected at 25.4 percent on average for 2015, with no change next year.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Parliament that he expects that growth would resume in the second half of 2016 and a strong tourist season could avoid a recession altogether.

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