Coalition berated for rushing bills through House


The coalition came under attack from the opposition parties on Friday for trying to rush through Parliament legislation paving the way for a new round of bank recapitalizations and a multi-bill containing the second set of prior actions that need to be passed so Greece can receive further bailout funding.

The bank recapitalization bill is due to be voted on tonight but the voting for the omnibus bill is not due until Thursday as the two pieces of legislation were submitted under different procedures.

“A lot of the information [included in the bills] was not available until the last minute,” said Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos after complaints from opposition parties about the short time that MPs have to debate the details of the draft laws.

“It was very difficult to have the bills ready earlier,” he added.

The government’s argument, though, did not convince the opposition.

“You are bringing us a bill under the emergency procedure because the government is unable to live up to its obligations,” said New Democracy MP Makis Voridis.

Nevertheless, New Democracy indicated that it will support the bank recapitalization bill, as will PASOK. The opposition parties, however, indicated that they are not prepared to vote for the multi-bill next week.

New Democracy and PASOK asked the government to remove from the omnibus bill provisions regarding increases in taxation for farmers, livestock breeders and breweries.

Coalition partner and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos also made it clear that he would not vote for an increase in the special consumption tax on beer manufactured by Greek microbreweries.

“Taxation on Greek beer, which helps Thrace get by, and on microbreweries across the whole of Greece will not be voted through and is not a prior action,” Kammenos wrote on Twitter.

New Democracy’s parliamentary spokesman Kyriakos Mitsotakis also took to Twitter to question the decision to increase tax for microbreweries rather than to raise the levy on imported alcohol. “Whose side is Tsipras on?” wrote the conservative MP.