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Greek parliament backs new bailout bill, sees return to growth but slow job recovery

Greece's parliament has approved budget plan for 2015-18 as part of the country's international bailout commitments. The plan envisions Greece's recession ending this year but a slow decline in unemployment.

Lawmakers voted 150-119 Friday in favor of the plan, which forecast a steady increase in growth, from 0.6 percent this year to 2.9 percent in 2015. But unemployment would only fall below 20 percent in 2016 from around 27 percent now. Unemployment often lags economic growth.

The left-wing opposition leader Alexis Tsipras argued the bill was intended to extend austerity beyond the government's term in office.

Greece has lost roughly a quarter of its output since sinking into recession in 2008. In return for money to avoid bankruptcy, it had to implement harsh austerity measures such as spending cuts.