Greece’s leftist-led government will not cut pensions again even if its international lenders demand it, the country’s labor minister told Reuters on Thursday, saying the incomes of the weak will be protected.
However, Athens remains determined to implement existing bailout reforms it has signed up to, Giorgos Katrougalos said in an interview.
International Monetary Fund projections for a wider-than-expected fiscal gap – seen at 5 to 7 percent of gross domestic product by 2018, according to sources close to the lenders – have fueled speculation Athens may come under strong pressure to slash pensions again.
Katrougalos dismissed such projections as “unreal” and said he hoped the issue would not be brought up during a bailout progress review with lenders, which he expected to resume “most likely next week” and be wrapped up “within March.”
“We hear things, sometime extreme, through leaks about the IMF which I hope won’t be brought to the negotiating table,” he said.