The number of injured, meanwhile, continues to grow, and stands at more than 180, including two dozen or so children. Tourists were also caught up in the blaze, including one British man who was treated for burns.
Others have been evacuated to temporary accommodation.
On July 24, the bodies of 26 adults and children who apparently died embracing each other were found on a cliff top.
Among those killed in the fires that swept Eastern Attica were a Belgian tourist and a Polish woman and her son.
On July 23, hundreds of firefighters battled the flames, which were fanned by winds of up to 100km/h (60mph).
The prime minister has declared a state of emergency in Attica, saying all emergency services have been mobilized.
Meanwhile, Germany, Italy, France, Romania and Poland have all sent help in the form of planes, vehicles and firefighters, while Spain, Turkey, and Cyprus have also offered assistance.
The Greek government and emergency services are facing allegations that their response to emergency was too slow.
A Supreme Court prosecutor has ordered a probe into the cause of the fire, amid allegations that there had been no evacuation plan in place.
President Barack Obama is seeking to assure United States allies that President-elect Donald Trump will honor the country’s international alliances when he takes office in January.
He told reporters that Donald Trump had “expressed a great interest” in maintaining the US commitment to NATO.
During the campaign, Donald Trump said he might abandon a guarantee of protection for fellow NATO countries.
The Republican candidate’s statements alarmed the Baltic states, which fear Russian aggression.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty commits allies to come to the aid of a member state under attack.
In July, the Republican candidate said the US would only come to the aid of allies if they have “fulfilled their obligations to us”.
The US has long been pressing its European allies to spend more on defense.
President Obama was speaking hours before his arrival in Greece, on his final official overseas trip.
He will later travel on to Germany and then to Peru.
Security has been stepped up in the Greek capital Athens, where anti-US protests are planned.
Barack Obama is expected to use his final foreign visit to calm nerves over the forthcoming administration of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s surprise election victory has raised concern among some world leaders after a string of controversial statements he made during his campaign.
At a White House news conference on November 14, President Obama said Donald Trump had “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships”.
He said this included “strong and robust NATO” partnerships, which he said would convey “enormous continuity” to the world.
The president said that in last week’s White House meeting with his successor, he had urged Donald Trump to send “some signals of unity… and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign”.
President Obama said he “absolutely” had concerns about Donald Trump but urged his fellow Democrats to accept the result and “recognize that that is how democracy works”.
On November 15, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed confidence about the Western alliance’s future.
“President-elect Donald Trump stated during the election campaign that he is a big fan of NATO, and I am certain that he will be a president… who will live up to all the commitments of the United States in the alliance,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said on November 14 that President Vladimir Putin had spoken by phone to Donald Trump and agreed to work with him towards improving US-Russia relations.
Donald Trump has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, describing him as a stronger leader than Barack Obama.
Greek minister of state Nikos Pappas said there was surprise in Greece as elsewhere at the election result, but added: “Everybody would be expecting the US government to continue to be on our side.”
“The mood of Greek people for this political change is <<wait and see>>,” he said.
High on the agenda in talks between Barack Obama and PM Alexis Tsipras on November 15 will be Greece’s crippling debt problems.
The US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have urged restructuring of the debt but face resistance from EU states, particularly Germany.
As preparations for Barack Obama’s visit went ahead, Greek anarchist and left-wing groups announced they were planning protest marches “against the representative of imperialist powers”.
Police banned public gatherings in central Athens and near the city’s international airport until after Barack Obama’s departure. Extra officers are also being deployed.
The last official visit to Greece of a sitting US president – by Bill Clinton in 1999 – was marked by extensive violent protests.
The International Monetary Fund has dismissed reports that it is trying to push Greece towards default as “simply nonsense”.
“The IMF conducts its negotiations in good faith, not by way of threats, and we do not communicate through leaks,” IMF chief Christine Lagarde wrote in a letter to Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.
Christine Lagarde’s letter comes after Wikileaks published a transcript of IMF officials discussing bailout negotiations.
One says a “crisis” could force a deal.
Greece publicly demanded an explanation after the leak, suggesting the comments meant the IMF could be planning to deliberately prolong debt negotiations until the country was close to running out of money.
Christine Lagarde said the “incident” had made her “concerned as to whether we can indeed achieve progress”, but said she had decided to allow the IMF team to return to Athens to continue debt discussions.
However, the IMF chief also warned that the latest bailout deal was “still a good distance away”.
Christine Lagarde said that the IMF could only support a deal that would enable “robust growth” for Greece, while also allowing it to tackle its debt repayments.
In 2015, Greece agreed a multi-billion dollar bailout with the EU and IMF that was needed for the country to avoid bankruptcy and stay in the eurozone.
Talks between Greece, the EU and the IMF on a bailout review, assessing Greece’s progress at implementing money-saving reforms and aimed at unlocking further loans, are due to resume this week.
The review has been suspended twice since January due to disagreement among the lenders over the estimated size of Greece’s fiscal gap by 2018, as well as different opinions on pension reforms and how bad loans are being managed.
“In the interest of the Greek people, we need to bring these negotiations to a speedy conclusion,” wrote Christine Lagarde.
Greek unions are staging their first general strike against austerity since Alexis Tsipras’s left-wing Syriza government came to power in January.
As protesters gathered in Athens, public services were hit and some transport services ground to a halt.
The main unions appealed for members to walk out against the terms of Greece’s third eurozone bailout.
Greece’s government agreed to push through tax rises and spending cuts in return for €86 billion ($100 billion) in rescue loans.
Greek lawmakers have already voted to raise the retirement age and get rid of most early retirement benefits, and reduced rates of sales tax on some of the big Greek islands have been scrapped.
However, the main civil servants’ union ADEDY and the GSEE private sector union objected to proposals to scale back supplementary pensions and merge pension funds. They were joined by communist-affiliated union PAME.
Public transportation services were shut down, schools were closed and hospitals had only emergency staff levels. Buses and trolley buses were providing limited services.
Photo AFP/Getty Images
Museums and archaeological sites were also shut and news bulletins, newspapers and websites were disrupted because journalists had walked out.
Although general strikes became regular events in Greece in the years following its first eurozone bailout in 2010, this was the first called since Syriza came to power.
After reluctantly agreeing to Greece’s third international bailout in five years in August, Alexis Tsipras called an election and was returned to power in September with 35% of the vote.
Despite agreeing to a series of reforms, Greek officials are currently locked in a dispute with eurozone officials over bad home loans.
The government is trying to avoid indebted Greeks losing their homes, but creditors want an agreement on a mechanism for tackling non-performing home-loans before they unlock €10 billion to recapitalize Greek banks. A separate €2 billion bailout installment is also at stake.
There was some good news for the Greek economy on November 11 when officials announced that unemployment had fallen to 24.9% in August, the lowest level since June 2012.
Greece former PM Alexis Tsipras has hailed a “victory of the people” after his left-wing Syriza party won the country’s snap election.
Alexis Tsipras said Greeks faced a difficult road and that recovery from financial crisis would only come through hard work.
The conservative New Democracy party earlier conceded defeat.
With 60% of votes counted, Syriza is projected to be just short of a majority but the Independent Greeks have agreed to join a coalition.
The latest figures give Syriza 35% of the vote, compared with New Democracy’s 28%. The far-right Golden Dawn is set to be the third biggest party, with 7.1% of the vote.
The snap election, the fifth in six years, was called after Syriza lost its majority in August. This followed the signing of an unpopular new financial bailout deal with international creditors.
Turnout in this poll was just over 55%, down from 63% in January and low by Greek standards.
Alexis Tsipras said his decision to call an early election was vindicated and that he had been given a clear mandate.
The former prime minister told thousands of jubilant supporters in central Athens: “In Europe today, Greece and the Greek people are synonymous with resistance and dignity, and this struggle will be continued together for another four years.
“We have difficulties ahead, but we are also on firm ground. We won’t recover from the struggle by magic, but it can happen with hard work.”
Alexis Tsipras was joined on stage by Panos Kammenos, leader of the nationalist Independent Greeks, who also entered a coalition with Syriza after the previous election in January.
“Together we will continue the struggle we began seven months ago,” Alexis Tsipras said.
New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis earlier conceded defeat to Alexis Tsipras, saying: “I congratulate him and urge him to create the government which is needed.”
The latest projection gives Syriza 145 seats in the 300-seat parliament, with New Democracy on 75. This is only four fewer than Alexis Tsipras’s thumping victory in January, but again leaves him just short of an absolute majority.
The Independent Greeks are likely to get 10 seats.
Greeks return to polls as voting has begun in the country’s snap general election.
Opinion polls indicate a tight race between the left-wing incumbent Syriza party and the conservative New Democracy.
The snap election, Greece’s fifth in six years, was called after Syriza lost its parliamentary majority in August.
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras’s popularity plummeted after he agreed a new bailout deal with European leaders.
The bailout involved austerity measures which Syriza had vowed to oppose.
Greece is mired in a deep financial crisis and whoever wins today’s election will have to oversee further tough economic reforms.
According to analysts, whichever party wins is unlikely to get enough seats to form a government alone.
That could mean a period of political instability just as deadlines loom for the implementation of a series of key financial reforms.
Former PM Alexis Tsipras said Greeks would elect “a fighting government” that will “move on with necessary reforms and break with the old regime”, as he cast his ballot on Sunday morning in the Athens district of Kypseli.
Alexis Tsipras signed the bailout deal shortly after a referendum in which more than 60% of voters rejected the austerity measures creditors wanted to impose.
In interviews leading up to the election, Alexis Tsipras Tsipras said he had put his country above his party. He said that had he not agreed to the three-year bailout, Greece would probably have had to leave the eurozone.
He told Antenna TV on September 18 he would “tug the rope” to try to win relief on Greece’s huge national debt from EU creditors.
His main rival, New Democracy leader Vangelis Meimarakis, has dismissed Alexis Tsipras’s term in office as “an experiment that cost [the country] dearly”.
“I fear that if Syriza is elected… the country will soon be led to elections again, and this would be disastrous,” he said.
Commentators say there is also a tight race for third place between the socialist Pasok party and the far-right Golden Dawn.
Analysts have said the migrant crisis on Greece’s doorstep may boost support for Golden Dawn, which is strongly opposed to immigration.
Polls close at 19:00 local time, with the first projected results expected two hours later.
Vassiliki Thanou, Greece’s top Supreme Court judge, has been appointed caretaker prime minister ahead of early elections next month.
Greece’s President Prokopis Pavlopoulos named Vassiliki Thanou after efforts to form a coalition failed.
Last week, Alex Tsipras resigned as prime minister to seek a new mandate for office.
Vassiliki Thanou, 65, becomes Greece’s first female prime minister.
Elections are expected to be scheduled for 20 or 27 September.
Vassiliki Thanou’s appointment ends a week of fruitless negotiations as opposition party leaders tried unsuccessfully to form a government.
Alexis Tsipras stepped down as prime minister and called early elections after 25 of his members of parliament quit Syriza over the bailout he agreed with European creditors and formed the left-wing Popular Unity party.
In a statement live on television on August 20, Alexis Tsipras said it was now up to the Greek people to give their verdict on whether to continue with his government’s program.
Alexis Tsipras is expected to win the next election although it is unclear whether he will secure a majority government.
However, he has ruled out a coalition with any of the more centrist opposition parties: centre-right New Democracy, the socialist Pasok party or the small centrist The River (To Potami) party.
Earlier this week an opinion poll for Greece’s Vergina TV suggested support for Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party had declined to 24%, down from 34% in July.
New Democracy was in second with 22%, while the far-right Golden Dawn ranked third with 6%.
Popular Unity, which split from Syriza, was put on 4.5%.
Panagiotis Lafazanis, who formed Popular Unity, was the last of three party leaders who were given the chance form a government in the past week.
He used the opportunity to air his anti-bailout message before handing back the mandate to the president on Thursday.
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis decided not to join Popular Unity despite his opposition to the €86 billion ($96 billion) eurozone bailout agreed by his successor Euclid Tsakalotos.
Syriza rebels will form a new party trying to govern Greece, local media reports.
Former Prime Minister and left-wing Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras stood down on August 20, paving the way for new elections.
The move came after Alexis Tsipras lost the support of many of his own members of parliament in a vote on the country’s new bailout with European creditors earlier this month.
Greek media reports say 25 rebel Syriza members of parliament will join the new party, called Laiki Enotita (Popular Unity).
The party will be led by former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who was strongly opposed to the bailout deal.
At a press conference in Athens, Pangiotis Lafazanis said he was ready to respect the result of a referendum held in July, in which 61% of Greeks said they would not support the terms of the bailout.
“If it is necessary for us to cancel the memorandum, we will follow the course of exiting the euro,” Pangiotis Lafazanis is quoted by Kathimerini newspaper as saying.
Syriza won 149 seats in Greece’s 300-seat parliament in the last election in January.
The conservative New Democracy party came second, with 76 seats.
The new Popular Unity party becomes the third largest in parliament.
In exchange for a new €86 billion ($95 billion) from European partners, Alexis Tsipras had to agree to painful state sector cuts, including far-reaching pension reforms – and keep Greece in the eurozone.
Close to a third of Syriza’s members of parliament abstained or voted against the terms of the new deal last week.
At the time, Panagiotis Lafazanis said he was determined to “smash the eurozone dictatorship”.
On August 21, the head of conservative New Democracy party, Vangelis Meimarakis, met Greece’s president and he will now have three days to form a government.
Observers say he does not have enough support and elections will be called.
Reports suggest the election – the fifth in six years – will be called for September 20.
If Vangelis Meimarakis fails to form a government, the chance will be given to the new party, analysts say, and then the far-right Golden Dawn party.
They, too, are unlikely to be able to gain enough allies to establish a government.
All parties can waive the right to negotiate and allow the president to approve a snap election.
Vangelis Meimarakis, however, has said he will try and use his mandate to form a government in the next few days.
Dimitris Stratoulis, one of the new members of Popular Unity, told Reuters that his party would also try to use the mandate and put a government together.
German parliament has voted by a large majority to approve a third bailout deal for Greece.
In total 453 members of parliament voted in favor, while 113 rejected the bailout and 18 abstained.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble earlier warned parliament that it would be “irresponsible” to oppose the €86 billion ($95 billion) package.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right conservative bloc has been divided over the deal.
Prior to the vote nearly 60 of Angela Merkel’s members of parliament had indicated they would vote against the rescue package.
In total 47 members of parliament did not attend the session.
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party and its Bavarian CSU allies hold 311 seats in the 631-seat Bundestag. Angela Merkel’s coalition partner, the Social Democrats, supported the deal, as did the opposition Greens.
Last month, 65 CDU/CSU politicians refused to support even starting negotiations for a third bailout.
On August 18, the parliaments of Austria, Estonia and Spain backed the bailout.
The Dutch parliament also debated the bailout on August 19, after anti-EU Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders insisted members of parliament should be recalled from their summer recess.
The vote by German parliament was the final hurdle before the first installment of the package – €13 billion – could be released, in time for Greece to repay €3.2 billion on August 20 to the European Central Bank (ECB).
Doubts remain about the Greek government’s commitment to the bailout conditions because it previously pledged to oppose austerity.
In exchange for the bailout – and keeping Greece in the euro – PM Alexis Tsipras agreed to further painful state sector cuts, including far-reaching pension reforms.
The new loans will be spread over the next three years. The first tranche of €26 billion will include €10 billion to recapitalize Greek banks.
The Greek parliament has approved the draft details a third bailout in five years after talks that lasted through the night and well into the morning.
The new deal involves tax rises and spending cuts in return for a bailout of about €85 billion ($95 billion).
Greece’s Alexis Tsipras also survived a significant rebellion within his own Syriza party.
The terms of the bailout will be discussed by eurozone finance ministers later on Friday, August 14.
The deal received 222 votes for, 64 against and 11 abstentions.
There were 31 “No” votes from Syriza members, and 11 abstentions – the biggest rebellion within Alexis Tsipras’ party so far. The rebels represented almost a third of all Syriza’s members of parliament.
According to the Greek media, the prime minister will ask for a confidence vote before parliament in the next week.
The debate itself was preceded by hours of often angry exchanges in parliament.
Voting started just after 09:30 local time, more than six hours after the main debate began. The debate itself had been delayed by procedural issues.
Members of parliament had to agree on the terms so that eurozone ministers could endorse the draft deal.
Greece faces an urgent deadline on August 20, when it must repay about €3.2 billion to the European Central Bank (ECB).
If Greece had failed to agree on new terms for a bailout, the ECB is likely to have stopped giving emergency funds to Greek banks.
One of Alexis Tsipras’ most vocal critics within his own party was his former ally, parliamentary speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou.
Zoe Konstantopoulou said she could not support the deal, and faced calls from Alexis Tsipras to hurry her handling of the bill. Instead, she took time to raise several concerns, delaying the timing of the debate – to the prime minister’s visible frustration.
Another Syriza member, Panagiotis Lafazanis, told Alexis Tsipras: “I feel ashamed for you. We no longer have a democracy, but a eurozone dictatorship.”
Alexis Tsipras told the parliament: “I have my conscience clear that it is the best we could achieve under the current balance of power in Europe, under conditions of economic and financial asphyxiation imposed upon us.”
Rebels have insisted the government should make good on its electoral promise to reverse spending cuts and tax rises.
In two prior votes on bailout reforms, rebels had refused to approve tax increases, pension cuts and market reforms.
Greece’s parliament has passed a second set of reforms, meaning that negotiations on an €86 billion European Union bailout can begin.
The reforms include changes to Greek banking and an overhaul of the judiciary system.
Thousands of protesters demonstrated outside of parliament as the bill was debated, with protests briefly turning violent as petrol bombs were thrown at police.
There had been fears of a rebellion by lawmakers but PM Alexis Tsipras was easily able to muster the support required. In total, the measures received 230 votes in favor and 63 against with five abstentions.
The debate ended at 04:00 local time.
Among those who voted against were 31 members of his own Syriza party. However, this represents a smaller rebellion than in last week’s initial vote.
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was one of those rebels in the first vote who returned to vote with the government this time.
Yanis Varoufakis wrote that he felt it was important to preserve the unity of the government, even if he believed the program was “designed to fail” by Greece’s creditors.
Speaking before the vote, Alexis Tsipras stressed that he was not happy with the measures that creditors had imposed.
“We chose a difficult compromise to avert the most extreme plans by the most extreme circles in Europe,” he told parliament.
Representatives of the European institutions that would provide the bailout funds will begin negotiations in Athens on July 24.
Last week, Greece passed an initial set of austerity measures imposed by its creditors. These were a mix of economic reforms and budget cuts demanded by the eurozone countries and institutions before bailout talks could continue.
This second set of measures passed early on Thursday morning were of a more structural nature, including:
a code of civil protection aimed at speeding up court cases
the adoption of an EU directive to bolster banks and protect savers’ deposits of less than €100,000
the introduction of rules that would see bank shareholders and creditors – not taxpayers – cover costs of a failed bank
More contentious measures – phasing out early retirement and tax rises for farmers – have been pushed back to August.
On July 22, the European Central Bank (ECB) increased its cash lifeline to Greek banks.
The emergency injection of an extra €900 million, the ECB’s second in a week, came just hours before the vote.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed on July 20 that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of €2.05 billion and was no longer in arrears.
The repayments, which included €4.2 billion to the ECB, were made possible by a short-term EU loan of €7.16 billion.
Greece’s next major deadline is August 20, when it must pay €3.2 billion owed to the ECB, followed by a payment of €1.5 billion to the IMF in September.
The protest in Athens’ Syntagma Square – called by Greece’s public sector union – was reported to have been largely peaceful, until a number of petrol bombs were thrown in the direction of police.
Banks in Greece are reopening after three weeks of closures sparked by the deadlock over the country’s debt.
Greece reached a cash-for-reforms deal aimed at avoiding a debt default and an exit from the eurozone.
However, many restrictions remain, including a block on money transfers abroad, and Greeks also face price rises with an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT).
Meanwhile, Germany has said it is prepared to consider further debt concessions to Greece.
Queues at ATMs have been a feature of life in Greece for weeks, with people waiting in line each day to withdraw a maximum of €60 a day, a restriction imposed amid fears of a run on banks.
From July 20, the daily limit becomes a weekly one, capped at €420, meaning Greeks will not have to queue every day.
While banks throwing open their doors marks the return of some normality to the Greek economy, long-term problems remain.
Unemployment is stubbornly high, and as this chart shows, Greece’s recession is comparable to one of history’s most famous economic crashes.
However, a block on transfers to foreign banks and a ban on cashing cheques remain in place.
Greeks will also pay more on a range of goods and services, including taxis and restaurants, with VAT rising from 13% to 23%.
The rise was among a package of reforms demanded by Greece’s creditors to open talks on the proposed €86 billion bailout.
Members of PM Alexis Tsipras’ party rebelled against the austerity measures demanded by creditors when it was voted through parliament.
It paved the way for Greece to receive a bridging loan, which enables the reopening of the banks and for Athens to repay debts of €4.2 billion, (including €700 million in interest), to the European Central Bank (ECB) due on July 20.
Both Greece and the IMF have been arguing for a restructuring of its €320 billion debt, saying its current position is “unsustainable”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out “a classic haircut” – a markdown of Greece’s debts.
She told German television other forms of relief, such as extending maturities or slashing interest rates, could be considered once the details of the latest program are worked out.
Angela Merkel also played down reports of a row with her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who suggested in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine that he would rather resign than defend something he did not believe in.
“The finance minister will, like me, conduct these negotiations and I can only say that no-one came to me and asked to be relieved,” said Angela Merkel when asked about the suggestion.
Germany, which is the largest contributor to Greek rescue funds, has taken a tough line on Greece.
At one point in the fraught talks over the bailout, Wolfgang Schaeuble suggested Greece could temporarily leave the eurozone while it stabilizes its economy.
PM Alexis Tsipras, who has reshuffled his cabinet to replace rebellious ministers, has another set of reforms to push through parliament on July 22.
German parliament is debating a motion on whether to allow negotiations on Greece’s €86 billion bailout deal.
Opening the debate, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “predictable chaos” if deputies did not back the plan.
The deal is expected to be passed despite opposition from the left and some members of Angela Merkel’s conservative party.
Greece’s parliament has already voted in favor of hard-hitting austerity measures required for a third bailout deal.
On July 16, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised the level of emergency funding available. This has paved the way for Greek banks, which shut nearly three weeks ago, to reopen on July 20.
However, credit controls limiting cash withdrawals to €60 a day will only be eased gradually, officials say.
Eurozone ministers have also agreed a €7 billion bridging loan from an EU-wide fund to keep finances afloat.
Chancellor Angela Merkel told German lawmakers ahead of today’s vote that the deal was hard for all sides, but said it was the “last” attempt to resolve the crisis.
“We would be grossly negligent, indeed acting irresponsibly if we did not at least try this path,” she said.
A number of eurozone countries require parliamentary approval to go ahead with bailout talks, including Austria, which is also voting on July 17. Both the French and Finnish parliaments have already backed the deal.
Meanwhile, there have been fresh calls for Greek debt relief measures from International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde – echoing a call from Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.
Christine Lagarde told France’s Europe 1 the IMF would participate in a “complete” Greek package that includes debt restructuring, as well as an “in-depth reform” of the Greek economy.
Greece has debts of €320 billion and is seeking its third international bailout. Last month it became the first developed country to fail to make a repayment on a loan from the IMF.
The Greek bank closures have been one of the most visible signs of the crisis.
From July 20, a weekly limit on withdrawals may replace a daily cap, Greek Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas suggested.
“If someone doesn’t want to take €60 on Monday and wants to take it on Tuesday, for instance, they can withdraw €120, or €180 on Wednesday,” he told Greek ERT television.
The announcements from the ECB and the Eurogroup came after Greek lawmakers passed tough reforms on taxes, pensions and labor rules as part of the new bailout deal.
A rise in value added tax (VAT) from 13% to 23% will kick in on July 20, affecting food and drink in restaurants, taxi fares, selected supermarket items, public transport and plane and ferry tickets.
PM Alexis Tsipras faced opposition to the deal from lawmakers within his left Syriza party. He is widely expected to announce a cabinet reshuffle on July 17.
Hours after Greece’s parliament passed tough reforms required for a third bailout deal, the eurozone ministers have met to discuss on emergency funding to keep Greek banks afloat.
The Eurogroup was also due to discuss next steps in negotiating the bailout.
The Greek government is expected to survive, despite losing its majority after 38 lawmakers voted against the reforms.
Later, the European Central Bank is to consider easing a funding squeeze on Greek banks, allowing them to reopen.
Greece is facing an immediate cash crisis, with banks there closed for more than two weeks.
The European Commission has proposed giving Greece a €7 billion “bridging” loan from an EU-wide fund to help the government pay its mounting debts.
Eurozone ministers have agreed in principle to extend the loan to Greece, according to an unnamed official speaking to Bloomberg. The loan will be announced on July 17 after national parliaments have voted on the bailout deal, the official added.
Eurozone leaders agreed on the bailout in principle in Brussels on July 13, on the condition that the Greek parliament passed reforms on taxation increases and pension curbs by July 15.
PM Alexis Tsipras won the parliamentary vote by 229 votes to 64, but needed the support of opposition lawmakers to do so.
The vote paves the way for eurozone finance ministers to open detailed talks on the bailout, worth up to €86 billion.
Finland’s parliament on July 16 approved the bailout talks – one of a number of eurozone states which require a mandate from their own parliament for Greece to secure new funds.
Germany’s parliament is due to vote on the deal on July 17.
Passionate opposition came from within Alexis Tsipras’ own Syriza party, with parliamentary speaker Zoe Constantopoulou calling the measures “social genocide”.
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was another vocal opponent.
In his address to parliament Alexis Tsipras said: “I acknowledge the fiscal measures are harsh, that they won’t benefit the Greek economy, but I’m forced to accept them.”
Since capital controls were imposed and the banks shut on June 29, Greeks have been limited to withdrawing €60 a day.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, known for his hardline approach, told national radio he would submit a request for parliament to reopen negotiations on the third bailout with “full conviction”.
He also said he believed a temporary “Grexit” – Greece leaving the eurozone – would perhaps be a better option.
Meanwhile Slovakia’s Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said in a tweet he welcomed “the positive vote” but said “this is the easier part of the deal”.
By July 22, Greece must also commit to a major overhaul of the civil justice system. It has to agree to more privatization, to review collective bargaining and industrial action, and make market reforms, including Sunday trading.
The Greek parliament vote on July 16 approved:
VAT changes including a top rate of 23% to take in processed food and restaurants; a 13% rate to cover fresh food, energy bills, water and hotel stays; and a 6% rate for medicines and books
An increase in corporation tax from 26% to 29% for small companies
An increase in luxury taxes on big cars, boats and swimming pools
An end to early retirement by 2022, increasing the retirement age to 67
Opponents of the bailout measures took to the streets of Athens in mainly peaceful protests ahead of the vote on Wednesday. However, one group threw petrol bombs at police officers who responded with tear gas.
Unions and trade associations representing civil servants, municipal workers and pharmacy owners also went on strike on July 15.
Greece will receive a third bailout after marathon talks in Brussels where eurozone leaders have reached the agreement.
EU chairman Donald Tusk has announced leaders agreed “in principle” on negotiations for the bailout, “which in other words means continued support for Greece”.
Greece’s PM Alexis Tsipras said that after a “tough battle”, his country had secured a “growth package” of €35 billion, and won debt restructuring.
The country will now have to pass reforms demanded by the eurozone by July 15.
“There will not be a <<Grexit>>,” said European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker, referring to the widespread fear that if there had been no deal, Greece would have had to leave the eurozone.
Alexis Tsipras also said he had the “belief and the hope that… the possibility of <<Grexit>> is in the past”.
“The deal is difficult but we averted the pursuit to move state assets abroad,” he said.
“We averted the plan for a financial strangulation and for the collapse of the banking system.”
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the eurozone group of finance ministers, said the agreement included a €50 billion Greece-based fund that will privatize or manage Greek assets. Out of that €50 billion, €25 billion would be used to recapitalize Greek banks, he said.
Greek banks have been closed for two weeks, with withdrawals at cash machines limited to €60 per day. The economy has been put under increasing strain, with some businesses closing and other struggling to pay suppliers.
Eurozone finance ministers are due to meet later on Monday to discuss providing “bridge financing” that would cover Greece’s short-term needs.
Parliaments in several eurozone states have to approve any new bailout.
“The road will be long, and judging by the negotiations tonight, difficult,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on July 13.
French President Francois Hollande said the agreement had allowed Europe to “preserve integrity and solidarity”.
“We also had to show that Europe is capable of solving a crisis that has menaced the eurozone for several years,” he said.
Eurozone leaders had been meeting in Brussels for 17 hours, with talks continuing through the night.
During the talks, reports emerged that Greece was holding out over the proposed role of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a new program, and over the fund to hold Greek assets.
Eurogroup is due to resume talks in Brussels on a bailout deal for Greece.
Nine hours of talks on July 11 ended without agreement and Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem described negotiations as “very difficult”.
Eurozone finance ministers have expressed skepticism Greece will implement the austerity measures it has proposed.
They have little time to produce a working plan ready for European leaders who meet in Brussels later on Sunday.
“We have had an in-depth discussion of the Greek proposals, the issue of credibility and trust was discussed and also of course financial issues involved, but we haven’t concluded our discussions,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup of finance ministers, told reporters as the earlier round of talks broke up.
“It is still very difficult but work is in progress.”
Talks are due to resume at 09:00 GMT.
Greek lawmakers have backed the latest measures proposed by PM Alexis Tsipras, despite the fact that many of the ideas were rejected by the Greek people in July 5 referendum.
Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is attending the talks in Brussels, trying to convince his counterparts that his government can be trusted to push through their economic reform plan.
Before talks began on July 11, Jeroen Dijsselbloem said there were concerns not just about “the content of the proposals, but also on the even more difficult issue of trust”.
“How can we really expect this government to implement what it’s now promising? I think it’s going to be quite a difficult meeting,” he said.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece would have to do more than promise reforms if it wanted more money.
“We will definitely not be able to rely on promises,” he said.
Reports on July 11 suggested that German ministers were drawing up a plan that would allow Greece to exit the eurozone temporarily if this weekend’s talks fail – something Athens says it is not aware of.
There were also unconfirmed reports that Finland had refused to agree to the new bailout proposals, although on its own it is unlikely to stop any deal going ahead.
Greece is asking creditors for €53.5 billion ($59.47 billion) to cover its debts until 2018.
However, the amount of the new bailout could reach €74 billion as Greece seeks a restructuring of its massive debt, which it says is unsustainable.
Of the €74 billion, €58 billion could come from the EU’s bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, with €16 billion from the IMF, sources have said.
As talks drag on, Greece’s financial situation is close to collapse.
Banks have been closed for two weeks and a €60 ($66) daily limit on cash machine withdrawals, imposed on June 28, remains in force for Greek citizens.
Greece’s chief bailout negotiator Euclid Tsakalotos has replaced the country’s outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned on July 6.
Yanis Varoufakis had become a lightning rod in Greece’s talks with Europe. In resigning, he conceded that his poor relations with other European finance ministers had become an obstacle in the search for a solution to Greece’s debt crisis.
He wrote in a blog post on July 6: “I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted <<partners>>, for my … <<absence>> from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement.
“I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”
During his time in government, Yanis Varoufakis refused to adopt the mannerisms of a conventional European politician. Instead, he dressed informally and loudly. He frequently appeared in media, launching biting rhetorical attacks against rival negotiators and governments.
While it may have appealed to populists, critics said Yanis Varoufakis’ abrasive style alienated many in the negotiating room.
His resignation came just a day after Greece voted against Europe’s latest bailout offer, raising the prospect that Greece could now suffer a worse economic disaster and lose its place in the euro.
Euclid Tsakalotos’ first task will be to present Greece’s ideas for breaking the deadlock at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on July.
Meanwhile, eurozone finance ministers say they expect to hear new proposals from Greece after Greek people voted to reject the terms of a bailout.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was currently “no basis” for talks on a new bailout and the ball was in Greece’s court.
Angela Merkel has met French President Francois Hollande in Paris ahead of a eurozone summit on July 7.
Meanwhile, Greek banks are to stay closed on July 7 and July 8.
Banks had been due to reopen on July 7 but the head of the Greek banking association, Louka Katseli, said the period had been extended following talks on July 6.
Germany’s economy minister has warned against any unconditional write-off of Greece’s debt, saying it would destroy the single currency.
Eurozone finance ministers are to meet on July 7 followed by a full summit of eurozone leaders. According to a Greek government official, PM Alexis Tsipras is expected to present fresh proposals at the summit.
Alexis Tsipras has noted that a recent IMF assessment confirmed that restructuring Greece’s debt of more than €300 billion ($331 billion) was necessary.
Greeks are voting in a controversial referendum on whether to accept the terms of an international bailout.
Polling stations opened at 07:00 local time, with the first results expected in the evening.
The government has urged a “No” vote, but opponents warn this could see Greece ejected from the eurozone.
Greeks appear evenly divided over the issue, according to opinion polls. Turnout is expected to be high, after a frenetic week of campaigning.
Leaders in the governing radical-left Syriza party have criticized the bailout terms as humiliating. They say rejecting the terms could give them more leverage in talks over Greece’s massive debt.
“No one can ignore the determination of a people taking its destiny in its own hands,” PM Alexis Tsipras said, after casting his ballot on July 5.
However, international creditors have warned that a “No” vote could choke off vital funding for Greek banks and lead to “Grexit – a chaotic departure from the common European currency. The “Yes” campaign has framed the vote as a referendum on Greek membership of the eurozone.
Supporters of both sides held rallies in Athens on July 3. Banks stayed shut because of capital controls imposed after the expiry of the current bailout program.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told local media on Saturday that the EU had “no legal grounds” to throw Greece out of the euro.
On the eve of the referendum, Yanis Varoufakis accused Athens’ creditors of trying to sow fear around the vote. He told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper: “Why did they force us to close the banks? To instil fear in people. And spreading fear is called terrorism.”
Yanis Varoufakis said that the banks in Greece would reopen on July 7 whatever the outcome and that PM Alexis Tsipras would still reach an agreement with creditors if the result was “No” in the referendum.
Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, one of Greece’s harshest critics, suggested that if Greece were to leave the eurozone, it might only be temporary.
“Whether with the euro or temporarily without it: only the Greeks can answer this question,” he told the German newspaper Bild.
“And it is clear that we will not leave the people in the lurch.”
The referendum question is: “Must the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June, 2015, and comprised of two parts which make up their joint proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled <<Reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond>> and the second <<Preliminary debt sustainability analysis>>.”
Voters must check one of two boxes – “not approved/no” or, below it, “approved/yes”.
Rival rallies have been held in the Greek capital ahead of a crucial debt referendum on July 5.
PM Alexis Tsipras was greeted with huge cheers by tens of thousands of Greeks when he told supporters to vote “No” to the terms of an international bailout.
Those attending another huge rally nearby warned a “No” vote would see Greece ejected from the eurozone.
A Greek court earlier rejected a challenge to the legality of the referendum and it will go ahead.
Greece’s current bailout program ran out on June 30. All week banks have been shut, with limits imposed on cash withdrawals.
Another war of words flared late on July 3 when Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis dismissed a Financial Times report that Greece was preparing contingency plans for a possible “bail-in” of bank deposits as a “malicious rumor”. The report quoted sources as saying banks were considering a “haircut” of 30% on deposits over €8,000.
Opinion polls on July 3 suggested Greece was evenly split over the vote – an Ipsos survey putting “Yes” supporters at 44% and “No” at 43%.
Opinion polls within 24 hours of the voting are banned, as are more campaign rallies.
Estimates of the crowds gathered in Athens on July 3 ranged from 25,000 to 50,000, with police and observers agreeing that the crowds at the “No” rally were bigger.
Rallies for both camps were held in 10 other Greek cities.
In his speech, Alexis Tsipras reiterated the themes of almost daily addresses over the past week – the need for Greece to preserve its dignity and “say a proud <<No>> to [European] ultimatums” to sign up to fresh austerity.
The prime minister said: “This is not a protest. It is a celebration to overcome fear and blackmail.”
Alexis Tsipras urged Greeks to “decide to live in dignity in Europe”.
He denied a “Yes” vote would mean leaving Europe, saying: “We are not going to allow them to destroy Europe.”
Only a few hundred meters away, supporters of a “Yes” vote said they believed Alexis Tsipras could not deliver on such a promise.
Athens Mayor George Kaminis told supporters at the rally that people did not even understand the question on the ballot paper.
He said: “We have been dragged into a pointless referendum that is dividing the people and hurting the country.”
Claims by Greek politicians that a “No” vote will strengthen their hand in bailout negotiations have been rebuffed by European leaders.
Both EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Jeroen Dijsselbloem – head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers – have insisted a “No” vote will weaken the Greeks’ position and that even a “Yes” vote will not mean a deal is easy to agree.
Several European officials have complained in strong terms about Greece’s abrupt decision to hold a referendum on the terms of a bailout offer they say is no longer on the table.
Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has made a defiant speech as cash withdrawal limits begin to bite for bank customers.
Alexis Tsipras promised Greeks their pensions and wages would be safe.
Earlier the prime minister offered new concessions to eurozone partners, accepting most conditions that were on the table before talks collapsed.
Germany says talks requested by Greece will not be possible until after a debt referendum called by Alexis Tsipras for July 5.
In his address on July 1, Alexis Tsipras thanked Greeks for their “calm” in the face of bank closures and said their salaries and pensions would “not be lost”.
He angrily denied he had a secret plan to take Greece out of the euro, calling those who accused him of this “liars”.
Greek banks did not open this week after the ECB froze their liquidity lifeline.
Withdrawals from cash machines are capped at just €60 a day and long queues have been forming outside banks.
However, up to 1,000 branches re-opened on July 1 to allow pensioners – many of whom do not use bank cards – a one-off weekly withdrawal of up to €120.
Many pensioners had waited outside banks from before dawn, only to be told to return on Thursday or Friday, the Associated Press reported.
Some pensioners were told their pensions had not yet been deposited, AP said.
Close to 300 pensioners marched on the Bank of Greece in Athens after being given only a small sum from banks in the morning instead of the entire €120.
The letter sent to creditors by PM Alexis Tsipras says he was prepared to accept a deal put forward last weekend, if a few changes were agreed.
European markets surged on the news Greece might be willing to accept a deal.
However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said no new bailout talks would be possible before Greece holds Sunday’s referendum.
As well as seeking further amendments to the creditors’ proposals, Alexis Tsipras’ latest offer is tied explicitly to agreement on a request for a third bailout lasting two years and amounting to €29.1 billion.
His application for a third bailout was accompanied by a request for debt restructuring that other eurozone countries would, at this stage, be unwilling to consider.
Two key meetings are to take place to discuss aid for Greece, after Athens missed the deadline for a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) payment to the IMF on June 30.
Eurozone finance ministers were set to discuss Greece’s new proposal in a conference call.
The second meeting will see officials with the European Central Bank (ECB) deciding on whether to demand more collateral from Greek banks on emergency loans it has given them.
With the previous eurozone bailout expired, Greece no longer has access to billions of euros in funds.
Only three other countries are still in arrears to the IMF – Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe. Between them, they owe €1.6 billion, only marginally more than Greece.
The question which will be put to Greek voters on July 5 will not be as simple as whether they want to stay in the euro or not.
Instead it asks Greeks to approve or reject the specific terms laid out by Greece’s creditors.
“Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled <<Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond>> and the second <<Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis>>.
The two appendix documents – “Reforms for the completion of the current program and beyond” and “Preliminary debt sustainability analysis” – don’t sound much more easily digestible than the ballot.
There is still a question over when and how voters will be presented with those documents, and whether world-class economists will be on hand at polling stations to explain them.
As well as being a little bit dense, the Greek ballot also controversially puts the “No” option – favored by the Greek government – above the “Yes” option, leading some to accuse it of bias.
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged population to reject international creditors’ demands in a snap referendum on the country’s debt crisis due on July 5.
Alexis Tsipras said a clear vote against austerity would help Greece negotiate a better settlement to the crisis.
Otherwise, the prime minister warned, he would not stay in office to oversee more cuts.
Greece’s bailout expires on June 30, the same day it faces a deadline to repay a €1.6 billion loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The loan is to be repaid by 18:00 Washington time (22:00 GMT).
EU leaders have warned that a rejection of the creditors’ proposals on July 5 would mean Greece leaving the eurozone – though Alexis Tsipras says he does not want this to happen.
Talks between Greece and its creditors broke down last week, leading to Greek banks having to shut this week. The uncertainty also caused stock markets to fall sharply on June 29.
Asian markets rebounded on June 30, with stock markets in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul all rising compared with June 29.
Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the Greek parliament in Athens on Monday evening in a show of support for the government’s proposals. A rival protest organized by those calling for a “Yes” vote is due later on Tuesday, June 30.
Speaking live on state TV on Monday evening, PM Alexis Tsipras appealed to Greeks to reject the creditors’ proposals, saying this would give Greece “more powerful weapons” to take to the negotiating table.
“We ask you to reject it with all the might of your soul, with the greatest margin possible,” he said.
Alexis Tsipras told viewers he did not believe the creditors wanted Greece out of the eurozone “because the cost is immense”.
He also hinted strongly that he would resign if the result of the referendum was a “Yes” vote.
“If the Greek people want to proceed with austerity plans in perpetuity, which will leave us unable to lift our head… we will respect it, but we will not be the ones to carry it out,” Alexis Tsipras said.
The Greek government has already been forced to order all banks to be closed until July 6 after the European Central Bank (ECB) decided not to extend its emergency funding.
The ECB is believed to have disbursed virtually all of its ceiling for funds, amounting to €89 billion.
Long queues of people were seen snaking outside ATMs on June 29, with withdrawals capped at just €60 a day.
Elderly people, many without bank cards, were seen waiting outside closed bank branches in the hope of getting access to funds.
EU leaders have warned Greek people that rejecting international creditors’ proposals in the bailout referendum called for Sunday, July 5, would mean leaving the euro.
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the vote would be “Yes or No to the eurozone”.
Greece’s PM Alexis Tsipras has urged a “No” vote but insists he wants Greece to stay in the euro.
Talks between Greece and its creditors broke down last week, leading to Greek banks having to shut this week.
Global stock markets saw big falls on Monday, June 29, after the weekend’s events.
As well as Sigmar Gabriel, the leaders of the eurozone’s other two largest economies said Greek voters would effectively be deciding whether or not they wanted to stay in the eurozone on July 5.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi said the choice would be between the euro and the drachma, while French President Francois Hollande said: “What’s at stake is… knowing whether the Greeks want to stay within the eurozone.”
Speaking to Greek television on June 29, Alexis Tsipras urged as many Greeks to vote “No” as possible on July 5 to give the Greek government a stronger position to restart negotiations.
He said his government had a mandate “to be within the European framework but with more justice”.
“They will not kick us out of the eurozone because the cost is immense,” he said.
Earlier, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he felt “betrayed” by the “egotism” shown by Greece in the failed talks on giving heavily indebted Greece the last payment of its international bailout.
Jean-Claude Juncker said Greek proposals were “delayed” or “deliberately altered” but added the door was still open to talks.
Despite the public war of words, a Greek official said Alexis Tsipras had spoken to Jean-Claude Juncker on June 26 and asked him to extend Greece’s bailout until the referendum.
A critical deadline looms on June 30, when Greece is due to pay back €1.6 billion to the IMF – the same day its current bailout expires. There are fears of a default and a possible exit from euro.
Jean-Claude Juncker said that he still believed a Greek exit from the euro was not an option and insisted that the creditors’ latest proposal meant more social fairness.
The question which will be put to voters on July 5 will not be as simple as whether they want to stay in the euro or not – instead it asks Greeks to approve or reject the specific terms laid out by Greece’s creditors:
“Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled <<Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond>> and the second <<Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis>>.
Greece’s PM Alexis Tsipras has announced that the Greek banks are to remain closed and capital controls will be imposed.
Speaking after the European Central Bank (ECB) said it was not increasing emergency funding to Greek banks, Alexis Tsipras said Greek deposits were safe.
Greece is due to make a €1.6 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on June 30 – the same day that its current bailout expires.
The country risks default and moving closer to a possible exit from the eurozone.
Greeks have been queuing to withdraw money from cash machines over the weekend, and the Bank of Greece said it was making “huge efforts” to keep the machines stocked.
Greek banks are expected to stay shut until July 7, two days after Greece’s planned referendum on the terms it had been offered by international creditors for receiving fresh bailout money.
The Athens stock exchange will also be closed on June 29.
Eurozone finance ministers blamed Greece for breaking off the talks, and the European Commission took the unusual step on Sunday of publishing proposals by European creditors that it said were on the table at the time.
Greece described creditors’ terms as “not viable”, and asked for an extension of its current deal until after the vote was completed.
“[Rejection] of the Greek government’s request for a short extension of the program was an unprecedented act by European standards, questioning the right of a sovereign people to decide,” Alexis Tsipras on June 28 said in a televised address.
“This decision led the ECB today to limit the liquidity available to Greek banks and forced the Greek central bank to suggest a bank holiday and restrictions on bank withdrawals.”
Alexis Tsipras said he had sent a new request for an extension to the bailout.
“I am awaiting their immediate response to a fundamental request of democracy,” he said.
Following the news from Greece the euro fell by nearly two US cents against the dollar in early Asia Pacific trade, Reuters reported.
The announcement comes after a particularly turbulent few days for Greece.
The current ceiling for the ECB’s emergency funding – Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) – is €89 billion. It is thought that virtually all that money has been disbursed.