NEWS

EU officials call for stability amid pension debate

CHRYSSA LIAGGOU

TAGS: Politics, EU, Economy

European officials are urging the Greek government to focus on maintaining financial and political stability even as political parties ratchet up their rhetoric ahead of general elections next year.

In comments to Kathimerini in Brussels, one EU official noted that, following its exit from international bailouts in August and its debt deal with creditors, Greece has entered a kind of 10-year moratorium in which it is effectively shielded from “external pressures.”

In order to remain shielded, however, Greece must ensure that two key factors are not affected: economic and political stability, the official remarked.

As a rule, European Commission officials have recognized the promising prospects of the Greek economy and have expressed their conviction that most of the country’s political parties will not seek to jeopardize Greece’s smooth exit from its financial crisis and return to normality.

As for the contentious issue of Greek pensions – and whether or not a new round of scheduled cuts will be carried out in January or not – representatives of the EC expressed confidence that a compromise will be reached by an emergency summit of eurozone finance ministers scheduled for November 19.

The same sources noted, however, that it is not the European Commission but eurozone member states that have been lending to Greece.

Overall, EC officials have displayed more understanding for the need for measures to alleviate vulnerable social groups who have been hard hit by austerity over the years than the International Monetary Fund.

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