Athens hastily clarifies on heated pension cuts issue: 'No negotiation between gov't and institutions, only discussions'

Friday, 14 September 2018 16:44
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Athens quickly clarified on Friday afternoon that there is "no negotiation between the government and the institutions (creditors), but only discussions," after conflicting press reports out of the Greek capital, earlier in the day, claimed the latter were considering the prospect of allowing the suspension of a looming social security reduction measure.

"They (creditors' representatives in Athens) could not agree or disagree over the issue of pensions, because there is no negotiation going on," a government spokesman later clarified, referring to talks in the Greek capital between ministers and creditors' top auditors throughout the week.

The official added that the cost of spending measures announced by Greek PM Alexis Tsipras last weekend was affirmed, however, no decision was taken on the height of so-called "fiscal space" for 2018 or 2019. The same source also left open the timetable for implementing whatever measures.

Earlier, a press report circulated by Greece's state-run news agency, citing "European sources", claimed that creditors' "were discussing a suspension of the pension cuts (measure)... and had briefed opposition parties (over the prospect)."

The report drew a shrill response by the main opposition party, New Democracy, which denied any such development. A social democrat grouping mostly coalescing around the PASOK party, called "KINAL", also denied any contacts with creditors over the issue.

 "ND voted against the measure for new cuts in pensions as of Jan. 1, 2019. The measure was not even in the unnecessary third memorandum (passed by the Tsipras government); it (pension cuts measure) was ratified with the sole responsibility of the SYRIZA-AN.EL government. We also remind that ND tabled an amendment, two months ago, not to implement the pension cuts, which the Tsipras-Kammenos government, unfortunately, rejected. ND's clear positions were repeated at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 with representatives of the institutions, where the latter did not clarify their intentions (on the matter). Since then, no other meeting or briefing involving the main opposition has taken place with the government or the institutions," a party statement read.

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