The European Union has welcomed the Greek parliament\'s vote in favour of a severe austerity package that has sparked strikes and violent protests. The EU said the move was a vital step back from what it called the \"very grave scenario of default\", according to the BBC. Greek MPs approved the deeply unpopular package of spending cuts and tax hikes by 155 votes to 138. The country is heavily in debt and the measures are needed to win the latest tranche of a 110bn-euro about (?98bn) loan. Greek MPs are to hold a second vote on Thursday on a bill outlining how the austerity package is to be implemented.