FARMERS’ PENSIONS: The parliamentary debate to decide whether to grant old-age pensions to farmers entered its third day yesterday. The leader of the Progressive Party, Spyros Markezinis, countered the proposal by Georgios Papandreou (to grant the pensions), saying Papandreou had apparently retracted views expressed in previous statements. Markezinis said that the government was the only authority that could make a sober decision on the issue. Markezinis added that the country’s needs should first be evaluated and he agreed that a cross-party committee should be set up to examine the entire issue, which – he stressed – should not be considered on its own but in the framework of the economy as a whole. Deputy Prime Minister Panayiotis Kanellopoulos reiterated that the issue was being examined and that within the next six months the government would have the results of a report on whose basis it would decide whether to proceed. The head of the People’s Social Party, Stefanos Stefanopoulos, said he approved of Papandreou’s proposal but agreed with the government that a serious study needed to be made and a way found to have the farmers themselves contribute to a pension fund.