As thousands protest in the streets, Greek lawmakers "approved a controversial package of tax hikes and spending cuts, helping clear the way for $17 billion in international emergency loans needed to stave off a possible default," the Washington Post reports.

Here's what the package contains, according to the Post:

The vote, on a $40-billion package of tax increases and spending cuts, was hailed by European officials as an important step in their ongoing talks with Greece’s political leaders and the IMF over how to stabilize the country’s finances. Without an approval, European leaders and the IMF said they would not release loans scheduled for Greece under a rescue program negotiated last year.

The loans are needed in order for Greece to pay its bills, including billions of dollars due to bondholders in coming weeks. The prospect of a Greek default has kept markets on edge and has been cited by the IMF and the Obama administration as one of the chief risks to the world economy....

The further "taxes on lower income wage earners and a nationwide emergency levy" are what's brought the Greeks to the streets to protest.

Next Page