ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Greece's effort to exit its bailout program (all times local):
Greek lawmakers have approved the final batch of creditor-mandated economic reforms as the end of their country's international bailout approaches.
The lawmakers voted 154-144 in parliament Thursday to approve the bill which includes a raft of reforms on issues ranging from pension cuts to health care and tax reforms. During the parliamentary debate ahead of the vote, around 3,000 demonstrators marched through central Athens in protest.
The bill was the last step Greece's government was required to make ahead of a meeting next week of finance ministers of the 19-nation eurozone, where Greece and its creditors are to reach a final deal on its bailout exit.
Greece is to emerge from its third and final bailout on Aug. 20, after eight years of relying on emergency loans from international creditors.
The European Commission's vice president says Greece's exit from its bailout in August would be "a delicate yet perfectly doable exercise, provided that all parties show commitment and act responsibly."
Speaking during a conference outside Athens on Thursday, Valdis Dombrovskis "upfront debt measures" are needed to ensure Greece's gradual return to borrowing on international bond markets. He added that Greece and its creditors are working to reach a final deal next week on exiting its bailout this summer.
Greece is to emerge from its third and final bailout on Aug. 20, after eight years of relying on emergency loans from international creditors. In return, it has had to make repeated rounds of deep spending cuts, structural reforms and privatizations and its economy has been under strict supervision by its creditors.