Fresh pension cuts to cover budget gap

Further cuts in pensions are expected to cover part of the 325 million euro gap in the 3.3 billion euros of extra budget savings this year which the EU and IMF are demanding in exchange for a new bailout of 130 million euros, Kathimerini understands.

The Greek government and the troika ? the European Union, the Central European Bank and the International Monetary Fund ? reportedly agreed on a package that includes cuts in the so-called special salaries, which include public sector wages for doctors, judges, diplomatic staff and police department.

The cuts are expected to reach 10 percent and in some cases 20 percent of salaries and are set to come into effect on July 1, as opposed to September 1 as originally planned.

The measure is expected to save 90 to 100 million euros.

Though exact cuts in pensions were not announced, it is widely understood that part of the 325 million needed will be raised from further reductions in pensions.

Another 50 million euros are expected to come from the health sector.

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met on Wednesday to discuss ways to further reduce pharmaceutical expenditure.

According to reports, the troika rejected measures originally put forward by the Finance Ministry which included reducing the operational costs of the Ministry of Defense, as well as further cuts in the Public Investment Program.

The 325-million euro saving package is expected to get final approval by the cabinet.