EU/IMF lenders ask Greece for more details on pension reform [Update]

Greece’s international lenders have asked for more information on pension reform to plug a potential budget gap next year, a government official said on Wednesday, as the two sides continue to haggle in a bailout review.

Athens has offered to raise value-added tax on hotels and implement pension reform to satisfy European Union/International Monetary Fund lenders’ concerns of a potential budget shortfall next year.

The aim is to get a deal by a Dec. 8 deadline that would, in turn, allow Greece to exit its bailout program by the end of the year.

Government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi confirmed that Greece received a response from lenders early on Wednesday. She did not give further details and it was not immediately clear whether the two sides were closer to reaching a deal.

A labor ministry official said the lenders had sought more information on pension reform proposed by the government.

The lenders did not specify any date for returning to Athens to complete the review, Adonis Georgiadis, an official from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s conservative party told Greek television.

Samaras has staked his government’s political survival on exiting the deeply reviled EU/IMF bailout by the end of the year, but his plans have been held up by deadlocked talks on the review.

The lenders have demanded additional measures to make up for an expected budget shortfall next year but Samaras on Tuesday said the government refused to hike taxes and cut incomes, arguing it would hurt a nascent economic recovery.