Greece passed a second bundle of policy measures demanded by the country’s European creditors as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged lawmakers to stop the country being forced out of the euro.
Tsipras won the support of at least 151 lawmakers in a televised, public vote in the 300-seat parliament in Athens for a bill that will simplify court decisions and transpose European rules on failing banks.
Echoing the rhetoric of the predecessors he once demonized, Tsipras said he’ll implement the creditors’ program even though he thinks the policies being imposed are wrong. He insisted he’ll do everything he can to improve the final deal.
“Conservative forces within Europe still insist on their plans to kick Greece out of the euro,” Tsipras told legislators in the early hours of Thursday. “We chose a compromise that forces us to implement a program we don’t believe in and we will implement it, because the choices we have are tough.”
The prime minister is trying to hold together his ad hoc majority long enough to finalize the 86 billion-euro ($93 billion) bailout program the country needs to stave off financial collapse. Abandoned by party hardliners, Tsipras is reliant on his political opponents to deliver the measures that creditors have demanded.
The new banking rules will, in theory, shield taxpayers from the cost of bank failures and stipulate that unsecured depositors — those with more than 100,000 euros with an individual bank — will face losses before the public purse. Shareholders, senior and junior creditors will be in line to take a hit before depositors.
However, the law won’t come into effect until the start of 2016 and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told lawmakers that banks will already have been recapitalized by then. Greek lenders are in line for as much as 25 billion euros of new capital under the outline terms of the new bailout program.