Greece sees lighter recession in 2016, government bruised by austerity vote

ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s left-wing government says the country will escape an expected recession this year and suffer only a minor downturn in 2016, revising up its forecasts despite months of dramatic bailout negotiations.

The government submitted its 2016 budget to parliament Friday, forecasting zero economic growth this year and a contraction of 0.7 per cent in 2016. Earlier it had predicted declines of 2.3 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.

Negotiations for Greece’s third bailout brought the country to the brink of financial collapse and euro exit in the summer, but the government eventually agreed to impose more painful cost-cutting measures.

Lawmakers approved new austerity measures Thursday, but the government saw its majority in parliament reduced from five to three due to dissenting deputies.