“It’s not fair, we worked hard, we paid our dues, and now our pensions are being slashed as part of austerity measures” – the complaint of Greek pensioners.
They took to the streets as inspectors from the so-called troika headed to Athens to oversee almost 12 billion euros of cuts that Greece must deliver this month to continue to get money from its International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank lenders.
Pensioners union spokesman Dimos Koubouris said: “This is a tragic situation putting people’s lives in danger. The situation for pensioners is desperate. We demand medicines be distributed. We demand that no more cuts be made, we demand pensions and benefits return to the way they were, we have been paying for this all of our lives.”
Troika representatives have also been in Portugal for meetings with leading politicians on Lisbon’s progress.
It is likely to miss its budget deficit reduction target for this year without additional austerity measures
Opposition MP Pedro Marques was blunt: “We told the troika things aren’t going well. What we need is adjustment with more measures to support growth and certainly without aggravating the recession, to stop the austerity spiral.”
An MP from the governing majority did say the troika members might be amenable to adapting Portugal’s bailout plan to the current economic situation,
Portugal, which has been sticking rigidly to the spending cuts required for its bailout, has seen its economy fall deeper into recession.
Lisbon is struggling to meet its deficit reduction target because of a fall in tax revenue.