Athens agrees to accelerate austerity drive

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Athens agrees to accelerate austerity drive

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The Greek government says it will step up cuts,

taking aim at civil servants and pensioners to satisfy its international lenders and avoid default.

Pensions of more than 1,200 euros will be slashed by 20 per cent, while wages for 30,000 public sector workers will be cut.

One young mother attending a rally in Athens criticised Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos for “constantly announcing new measures.”

“I have a one-year-old child. What kind of world will she live in. People need to come out and to protest,” she said.

Venizelos told legislators that the new cuts were needed to keep emergency loans flowing.

He also said pensions for those under the age of 55 would lowered by 40 per cent.

Athens must follow a strict deficit reduction plan agreed with the EU and the IMF under a bailout deal to receive the next aid payment of eight billion euros.