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Greek PM announces first 'humanitarian' legislation

28 february 2015, 13:17

 Greece's new anti-austerity government will put before parliament early next week its first legislation tackling the "humanitarian crisis" caused by years of cuts, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Friday, AFP reports.

"The first bill that we will introduce in parliament at the start of next week will cover measures to combat the humanitarian crisis," Tsipras, 40, told a cabinet meeting transmitted live by TV channel Nerit.

"This constitutes our first task for a society that has been suffering these past five years," said Tsipras, voted into office last month vowing to reverse austerity cuts demanded by eurozone member Greece's creditors in return for two bailouts.

The measures, as set out in the election programme of Tsipras's Syriza party, include free electricity for 300,000 poor families, housing for 30,000 people and debt relief for individuals and companies owing money to the state, he said.

Additional legislation will "protect hundreds of thousands of people at risk of losing their homes" and scrap a goldmine project in northern Greece involving a Canadian company that has sparked protests, Tsipras said.

Greece on Tuesday secured a four-month extension to its bailout programme from its creditors, promising to implement reforms that fill government coffers and to refrain from scrapping previous reforms without prior consultation.

Athens has to firm up its reform commitments in the coming two months in order to receive the final tranche of its bailout, and the government has to find billions of euros (dollars) to repay debts that mature in the coming months.

Earlier on Friday Germany's parliament overwhelmingly approved the bailout extension despite some dissenting voices within Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right bloc and surveys suggesting widespread opposition among German voters.

Tsipras also said Friday that there once the current bailout expires there will be no "third memorandum" as the previous agreements of cuts in exchange for further financial support are known.

"Memorandums are finished," he said.

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