Greece passes 2013 austerity budget

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras delivers a speech from the podium, left, during a parliament meeting for vote on 2013 country's budget in Athens, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. The vote by lawmakers on the 2013 budget which would once more cut pensions and salaries so Greece can qualify for its next vital batch of rescue loans. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

November 11, 2012 3:11:06 PM PST
Greek lawmakers have approved the country's 2013 austerity budget, an essential step in Greece's efforts to persuade its international creditors to unblock a vital rescue loan installment without which the country will go bankrupt.

The approval by majority vote early Monday comes four days after a separate bill of deep spending cuts and tax hikes over the next two years squeaked past with a narrow majority in the 300-member Parliament following severe disagreements among the three parties in the governing coalition.

Finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries meet in Brussels later Monday, with Greece high on the agenda.

But German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said international creditors won't be rushed into approving the loan disbursement.