ATHENS, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Greek parliament approved the government's 2014 budget early Sunday as Athens was awaiting the release of 1-billion-euro instalment of international financial aid.
The budget was approved by a vote of 153 to 142 with one abstention as 296 lawmakers were present in the 300-member chamber.
In his speech before the vote, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras defended the government's economic policy, saying with the implementation of a harsh austerity and reform plan since 2010, recovery is now in sight.
The 2014 budget scaled down economic contraction prediction for 2013 from 4.5 percent to 4 percent while forecasting a 0.6-percent growth for 2014.
Dismissing criticism of opposition parties and labor unions of "a roadmap to destruction," he stressed that the budget's forecast that Greece would post a 2.9-billion-euro primary surplus in 2014 would become a reality, "proving populists wrong."
The budget also forecasted an extra 2.1 billion euros in tax revenue and a 3.1-billion-euro cut to state spending.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras insisted that the budget reflected the state of real economy and would lead the country out of a six-year recession and boost the country's argument for a further debt relief from international creditors next year.
Athens needs to stick to tough measures to secure the next 1-billion-euro tranche of the total of 240-billion-euro bailout loans from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
Following the ratification of the 2014 budget, Athens should take more steps to clinch a deal with the so-called creditor troika. The two sides disagreed on the size of the 2014 fiscal gap and ways to tackle it, as well as on reforms and the progress of the privatization program.
The troika predicted that Greece's 2014 fiscal gap would exceed 1.5 billion euros, while the Greek government estimated the sum at slightly more than 500 million euros.
The troika creditors said on Saturday that they had delayed until January the trip of negotiating teams to Greece for talks on a deal unblocking the 1 billion euros in bailout funds. (1 euro= 1.37 U.S dollars)
Greek Deputy PM Venizelos dismisses media report over "alteration" of Greek budget gap size
ATHENS, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos strongly dismissed on Friday a report in German media that he asked European Central Bank (ECB) board member Joerg Asmussen in a recent meeting for an "alteration" of the size of Greece's budget gap.
"The article in the newspaper Die Zeit that - in the context of a long profile on Mr. Asmussen - refers to the supposed content of our conversation during our recent meeting in Athens, on Aug. 22 2013 is totally inaccurate," Venizelos said, according to an official statement released by his office. Full story