Germany 'expressly welcomes' Greek austerity vote: Berlin
(BERLIN) - Germany on Monday hailed the vote in the Greek parliament agreeing harsh austerity moves, saying it showed the will in Athens to take difficult decisions to get Greece on track.
"We expressly welcome the decision of the Greek parliament in Athens. These decisions show the will of the Greeks to take difficult measures to put the country on a good path," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.
"These measures ... are not savings for savings' sake, cuts for cuts' sake," added Seibert, the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"They are reforms in all political areas and they are measures that should step-by-step give the country back its financial room for manoeuvre, which it needs to foster new growth and jobs," he said.
Greece's parliament late on Sunday agreed a raft of unpopular reforms in a bid to secure international aid it desperately needs to stay afloat.
The vote took place against a background of violence, with buildings aflame and protesters engaging in running battles with police.
The new austerity measures will mean more hardship on ordinary Greeks, involving a 22-percent cut in the minimum wage, deregulating the labour market to make it easier to lay off workers and a package of tax and pension reforms.
Earlier Monday, German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said the vote was "a step in the right direction" but warned: "We are still a long way from the goal."
"We want to see what comes after the legislative process because the legislative process is one thing, implementation is another," added Roesler, speaking on ARD public television.
He stressed that the pressure that Germany and the EU had applied on Greece to push through unpopular and harsh austerity measures "had been the right thing to do to push Greece forward."
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