A legislative majority today approved the 2018 budget of the Greek Parliament, which for the first time since 2009 and the start of the financial crisis features a slight spending increase, of one million euros, or 0.75 percentage points.
Parliament’s budget for the coming year will be 133.985 million euros, compared to 132.985 million in 2017.
The increase is within the parameters of the Medium Term Fiscal Framework agreed to with the country’s creditors.
The deputies of ruling Syriza, New Democracy, Dimokratiki Symparataxi (Pasok), To Potami, and Centrists’ Union all voted in favour. Ultra-right Chrysi Avgi voted against, and the Greek Communists Party MPs voted “present”.
The ruling Syriza Party’s rapporteur, Alexandros Meikopoulos, said that large technical projects will be placed under the purview of the Bureau for the Disbursal of European and Other Credits, in order to economically exploit parliament assets, with the long term aim of creating infrastructure with capital value, which in turn will allow for further cuts in the legislature’s budget.
Meikopoulos noted two of the money-saving measures adopted by parliament – the system for electronic transmission of documents and the transformation of the Special Committee for Auditing Property Assets into an autonomous management organ that can cut expenditures and wages.
“Parliament has contributed to our efforts at budget cutbacks. This was the right thing to do. But society should know that,” said main opposition New Democracy’s rapporteur, MP Kostas Koukodimos, noting broad public criticism of legislators’ many special privileges.