Greek lawmakers pass a package of unpopular pension and tax reforms that the country's leftist-led government hopes will persuade official creditors to unlock bailout cash. As Ivor Bennett reports, euro zone finance ministers must now decide whether to release the next tranche of bailout aid.
In Greece, petrol bombs and politics often go hand-in-hand. Another crucial vote in parliament met by violent protests. They had subsided by morning, but the anger will burn for a lot longer yet. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK PENSIONER GEORDANIS SAROGLOU SAYING: "We are not at all optimistic; the social security bill was the worst thing that could have ever happened." (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) CONSTANTINOS STRATIS, UNEMPLOYED, AGED 58, SAYING: "A revolution is needed. Seriously, (my politics) were in the centre, but now I am thinking of going towards extremes, I am so outraged." And here's why. A set of tax hikes and pension cuts the government says will get the country back on its feet. It's aiming to generate savings worth 3 percent of GDP, which it hopes will unlock the next 5 billion euros of bailout funds. And that's not all. Debt relief is the ultimate goal. SOUNDBITE (English) BRENDA KELLY, HEAD ANALYST, LONDON CAPITAL GROUP, SAYING: "It's going to be very difficult. I think the Greek parliament have got difficulties amongst themselves in pushing through those reforms and they are exceptionally austere given that it's been happening for several years at this point. I would expect the volatility in Greece to continue." As before, Greece's fate lies elsewhere in Europe. but the early signs are positive. Debt relief is on the table. (SOUNDBITE) (German) JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM, EUROGROUP PRESIDENT, SAYING: "Well we're definitely going to discuss it. We'll discuss when/if under what conditions this could take place. Is it necessary? But this is the first discussion we'll have on it. I don't expect any definite conclusions as yet." Markets are also optimistic. European shares bouncing back after two weeks of losses. Greek bond yields hitting four month lows.