Greek coalition wins confidence vote ahead of euro talks

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speaking in parliament during a no-confidence debate on 8 July 2012 Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told MPs that the way ahead would not be easy for Greece

Greece's new coalition government has won a vote of confidence in parliament, ending months of political uncertainty.

It won the approval of all MPs of the three parties backing the coalition, which wants to keep Greece in the euro.

Eurozone ministers are due to meet in Brussels to discuss how to carry out measures agreed at a summit in June to tackle the debt crisis.

It comes amid renewed fears that Spain and Italy could struggle to pay the interest on their debt.

Divisions have emerged, between the northern and southern eurozone on how to implement the decisions of the June summit.

At the summit, EU leaders agreed to use the eurozone's planned bailout fund to support struggling banks directly in a manner that does not add to government borrowing.

Spain and Italy want the agreements put into effect as soon as possible, but other states, particularly Finland and the Netherlands, are reluctant to accept rapid moves towards collective responsibility for other countries' debts.

On Friday, borrowing costs for Spain and Italy again rose sharply, coming close to what are seen as unsustainably high levels.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday appealed for the June accords to be fulfilled as swiftly as possible.

Unity

Monday's eurozone meeting will also assess the policies of the new Greek government, which won the approval of parliament after three days of tense debate.

The vote was seen as largely symbolic, as the coalition has the support of 179 out of 300 members of parliament.

In his final speech before the vote, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras appealed for unity.

"Things will be difficult from here on in, and what we ask is unity, from different sides, from disagreeing sides, but unity," he told MPs.

The coalition, which is supported by Mr Samaras' conservative New Democracy, the Socialist Pasok and the Democratic Left, was agreed following elections on 17 June, which were called when an earlier vote failed to produce a viable government.

Mr Samaras' government has pledged to adhere to strict targets on spending and economic reforms in return for a 130bn euro ($171bn) EU rescue package aimed at keeping debt-laden Greece in the euro.

But it has asked for some of the terms to be renegotiated, in order to restore economic growth and help employment.

The austerity measures have caused widespread economic hardship, and the recent months of political instability have only added to the strains.

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