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Greek Parliament Begins Key Debate

Greece's Prime Minister Lucas Papademos
Greece's parliament has started debating a bill on austerity measures that the body must pass before the end of the day on February 12 in order to receive a vital 130 billion euro ($171 billion) bailout from the European Union to repay its debt.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has been emphasizing the importance of passing the measures and appeared on national television to say that failure to pass the measures would lead to "uncontrolled chaos and a social explosion."

Already entering the fifth year of recession, these latest austerity measures are unpopular in Greece and have sparked protests, especially in Athens, where thousands of people protested against cuts again on February 11.

The changes contained in this latest round of cuts include lowering the minimum wage by 22 percent, deregulating the labor market to make it easier to lay off employees, and reforms to the tax and pensions systems.

Compiled from agency reports