Athens – Greece’s parliament on Thursday was to approve a new round of austerity cuts, hoping to secure a pledge of debt relief and loan disbursements by the country’s EU-IMF creditors this month.

Leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has a slim majority in parliament sufficient to pass the bill in the vote expected around midnight.

Overall, the bill to be approved entails 4.9 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in cuts in 2018-2021.

Tsipras grudgingly accepted to legislate another round of pension cuts and lower tax breaks — applicable in 2019 and 2020 respectively — to unlock the cash payment ahead of looming debt repayments in July.

In return, Greece will introduce poverty support measures — such as subsidies on rent and medicine — over the same period of time.

© AFP Aris MESSINIS Heavily-indebted Athens and the EU and IMF have been deadlocked over reforms for months amid disagreements on debt relief and budget targets for Greece

© AFP Aris MESSINIS – Heavily-indebted Athens and the EU and IMF have been deadlocked over reforms for months amid disagreements on debt relief and budget targets for Greece