ECONOMY

EU official sees no decisions on Greek pension plan before February

eu-official-sees-no-decisions-on-greek-pension-plan-before-february

A high-ranking European official on Wednesday described the Greek government's draft bill for an overhaul of the pension system as “ambitious” because it foresees the merger of the country's social security funds, as demanded by creditors since the start of the bailout process. It is still too soon to fully evaluate the proposal, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, adding that a decision is unlikely to emerge from Thursday's Eurogroup or from the next meeting of eurozone ministers scheduled in three weeks.

As far as Greece's first performance review is concerned, the same official said he expects it to start next week with the arrival of inspectors from the creditor institutions to Athens. Other measures that are still pending besides the social security reform are a public administration overhaul, the finalization of fiscal targets for 2016 and the reform of the electricity market.

The official noted that the first review cannot be wrapped up without the participation of the International Monetary Fund. He added that Greek demands for a lightening of its debts can only be addressed after the pension system reform, which will determine future fiscal forecasts, and said that “there is no big rush” as there are no payment deadlines on the immediate horizon.