Greek lawmakers are scheduled to vote at 1600 GMT today on a very unpopular property tax as part of a deal on new austerity measures that will secure further international aid.
If the new property tax is voted in, this will be an important test of the Greek government’s ability to push through new austerity measures in order to persuade the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to release the next aid tranche of 8-billion-euros that will help avert Greece from default next month.
However, as policy makers are about to go and vote, Greek bus drivers, metro workers and tax collectors launched a strike today to protest against these tight measures.
Tomorrow inspectors from the troika (IMF, ECB, EU) will be returning to Athens after being persuaded by Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos over the G20-IMF meeting in Washington the past weekend to resume their operations.
The Greek government will try to prove that they have met the strict criteria necessary for the troika to approve the next allocation of funds. This is probably the last chance Greece has to avoid going bankrupt.
Meanwhile, as the IMF-EU inspectors visit Athens, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will be in Germany for a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Papandreou will discuss reforms ahead of a key parliamentary vote in Germany on Thursday meant to give more powers to the EU’s EFSF bailout fund. German voters need to be convinced about the reasons for the Greek bailout.