Picture - Ethnos newspaper
Negotiations between the Greek government and creditors to reduce budget spending by 11.5 billion are still continuing, but so far there are no signs that they have reached a particular decision. The ministries of employment, health and defence are in the focus of savings, since creditors consider that wastes there are the most.
At the Ministry of Labour, representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund insisted on drastic restrictions on pensions, which the technocrats consider as too generous against the background of debt-suffocating Greece. For example, they want pensioners receiving more than one pension, to have a ceiling of 3,500 euro per month instead of 368 euros per month, which is valid at the moment. Also, the highest single pension needs to be 2,500 euro per month instead of the currently valid ceiling of 2,773 euro monthly. Creditors generally want larger pensions to fall by about 35 per cent.
Eyes are alsoon the lump-sum payment on retirement, for which a backdated reduction is being proposed. In determining the amount of additional pension benefits, the supervisory experts suggest the implementation of criteria on income and property status. Another requirement is also the increase of retirement age.
The Ministry of Health wants spending to be cut by 1.2 billion euro for 2013 alone. Cuts in the Ministry of Defence are 500 million euro. The experts propose a structural reform in the armed forces, which will lead to savings of 450 million euro. They also suggest the military provide against payment 20 military camps to the Ministry of Civil Protection, which can be used for temporary accommodation centres for illegal immigrants.
The mood among ministers is markedly negative, as some of them are not just simply refusing to cut costs, but want additional funding for 2012.