Greek parliament passes development bill aimed to boost economic recovery
ATHENS, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Greece's parliament passed on Thursday a development bill aimed to boost economic recovery in the post-bailout era.
The bill entitled "Invest in Greece" was ratified with the support of 165 lawmakers in the 300-member strong assembly, while 122 MPs voted against. A total of 287 legislators participated in the procedure which was broadcast live on the parliament's TV channel.
The conservative government has 158 seats in the plenary.
"The bill brings Greece's investment sector into the 21st century and the digital age. It incorporates good European and international practices, lifts bureaucratic obstacles to investment and encourages full employment," said Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
Main opposition Radical Left SYRIZA party leader Alexis Tsipras rejected the bill, claiming it serves corporate interests and is against labor rights.
The development bill simplifies processes for investors, particularly in regulations on environment, urban planning and land use planning, aiming to reduce red tape and speed up procedures.
It also introduces changes in the operation of labor unions, which triggered strikes and protests by several unions ahead of the vote.
The government argued that it protects jobs by salvaging businesses on the brink of collapse.
"The development bill is a turning point for the structural changes planned by the government. A cohesive and comprehensive economic policy plan has been presented which aims to improve the country's wealth. It places special emphasis on investments, opening the way for the creation of many good-quality new jobs," said Finance Minister Christos Staikouras during the debate.
Greece exited in August 2018 the third bailout program implemented since 2010 to pull it out of a debt crisis that brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.
Greece has returned to growth and the new government which took office after July general elections aims to achieve 2.8 percent growth in 2020 from 2 percent this year, according to the state budget draft tabled in parliament.