Commission not fully aware of Greek PM’s declarations over special benefits

Commission not fully aware of Greek PM’s declarations over special benefits

The European Commission was not fully aware of a one-off payment to Greek low-income pensioners announced by PM Alexis Tsipras on Thursday, a European Commission spokeswoman said Friday.

“The commission was not made aware of all the details of the announcements before they were made," the spokeswoman told members of the press in Brussels on Friday. The commission was expected to study them before acting further she added. 

Through a televised address on Thursday, Tsipras announced the disbursement of 617 million euros to 1.6 million pensioners in the form of a special supplement.

“The program includes clear commitments to discuss all measures related to program objectives with the institutions in advance and commitments on how to handle the situations of over-performance to agreed primary surplus targets,” the spokeswoman said on Friday. 

On Thursday, Tsipras also announced the suspension of the measure to increase value-added tax on northern Aegean islands which continue to suffer from the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis.

The Commission was “acutely aware” of the challenges facing the Aegean islands and was working closely with Greek authorities “to alleviate the burden,” said the spokeswoman, adding that Brussels welcomed suggestions by Greek authorities which were part of the country’s bailout commitments.

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