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There are 3 big obstacles Greece needs to clear before getting more bailout cash

Politics could still stymie the country’s third rescue package.

Greek hurdler Periklis Iakovakis
Greek hurdler Periklis Iakovakis
Image: Associated Press

EVEN THOUGH GREECE and its European partners finally reached a deal on a third aid programme in gruelling weekend talks, it must still be approved by eight different national parliaments.

And German politicians, many of whom have pushed the harshest austerity moves, will even get to vote on the third bailout twice.

In countries like France, approval of the deal is in no real doubt. But in some, such as Finland, debate could prove tempestuous.

No vote is required in the parliaments of Belgium, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Lithuania, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Neither will the parliaments in Malta or Slovenia vote, because their total financial aid to Greece will not increase as the money will come from the European Stability Mechanism, which euro members paid into in 2012.

In the Netherlands, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also Eurogroup chief, will inform the parliament on Wednesday, but a vote will not be needed.

Europe Greece Bailout Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem Source: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

A vote will also be unnecessary here in Ireland, where the government only plans to hold a debate once the details of the agreement have been finalised.

That debate is therefore likely to take place in September, once the Dáil reconvenes from its summer break that starts at the end of this week.

Europe Greece Bailout Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Source: Associated Press

Here are the three big political obstacles left to Greece’s third, €86 billion bailout:

GREECE

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has found himself with a formidable challenge to force unpopular bailout reforms demanded by eurozone creditors past his own party to get them through parliament.

The 40-year-old former Communist, who stormed to power in January with promises to halt austerity, has the unenviable task of enacting what critics have called the most “humiliating” of Greece’s three bailouts since 2010.

With around a fifth of his radical left Syriza party likely to oppose him, Tsipras will probably need to rely on pro-European opposition lawmakers to push through measures that will give Greece another dose of austerity.

Tsipras has to rush through parliament by Wednesday a package of tax hikes, pension reform and fiscal safeguards that are essentially the same as those that Greeks broadly rejected in a 5 July referendum.

Most controversially, Athens has to park state assets worth up to €50 billion in a special fund for them to be privatised. It will be managed by Greece under the supervision of European creditor institutions.

Greece Bailout Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Source: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

GERMANY

The German lower house is already on its summer break, but it will reconvene to hold two votes on the aid package.

The first, to be held on Friday, will be to mandate the government to enter into negotiations on the concrete modalities and precise volumes of aid.

A second, for which no date has yet been set, will then be needed to approve the final deal once it has been worked out in detail.

Chancellor Angela Merkel commands a comfortable majority of 504 out of 631 seats with her “grand coalition” of Conservatives and Social Democrats.

One of the opposition parties, the environmentalist Greens, are also likely to back the agreement. So, arithmetically, the outcome of the vote is a done deal.

Politically, however, things are more complicated for Merkel. Within her Christian Union CDU/CSU parties, the number of people who are disaffected with the whole issue of Greece has increased.

If the number of no-voters grows to anywhere near half of those in the CDU/CSU parliamentary faction, it will deal a heavy blow to the chancellor. But generally speaking, her conservatives may rant and fume a lot beforehand, but end up toeing the line.

Albania Balkans Merkel German Chancellor Angela Merkel Source: AP Photo/Hektor Pustina

FINLAND

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila must present the new agreement to his fellow coalition partners, notably the eurosceptic Finns Party which had been advocating a Grexit.

Once the government has reached a mutual understanding on the new deal, its position will be presented to the Parliamentary Grand Committee, made up of 25 lawmakers. That Grand Committee, which mirrors the political makeup of the Parliament, will discuss the agreement and the government’s position.

A vote will only be held if there is opposition to it. The meeting is not yet scheduled. But it should take place “within days,” a spokesperson for the Grand Committee told AFP on Monday.

Europe Greece Bailout Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila Source: Associated Press

- Additional reporting Peter Bodkin

READ: ‘This deal is misery, humiliation and slavery for Greece’ >

READ: Enda glad there’s a deal after a ‘bruising’ all-night session >

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