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Greek Ministers: No More Austerity; Jobs and Pension Before Debt

May 26, 2015 (EIRNS)—Greek ministers continue to make the point that the era of austerity and debt payments has to end. Deputy Minister of Social Insurance Dimitris Stratoulis told Mega TV that Greece’s inability or unwillingness to pay the IMF installment in early June would not constitute a "credit event." Stratoulis underlined that the payment of salaries and pensions and the funding of health care and education have priority over the payment of the IMF. "If we decide that there is no money left for the IMF, we have repeatedly said that our priority is to pay salaries, pensions, health, education," he said reported enikos.gr news site.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, in a commentary on the Project Syndicate website, wrote that it is the demand for more austerity by the European Commission, European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, that is blocking the talks between Greece and these institutions.

"The problem is simple: Greece’s creditors insist on even greater austerity for this year and beyond—an approach that would impede recovery, obstruct growth, worsen the debt-deflationary cycle, and, in the end, erode Greeks’ willingness and ability to see through the reform agenda that the country so desperately needs,"

said Varoufakis.

"Our government cannot—and will not—accept a cure that has proven itself over five long years to be worse than the disease."

He also pointed out that the creditors are "demanding unsustainably high primary surpluses (more than 2% of GDP in 2016 and exceeding 2.5, or even 3, for every year thereafter)," which, of course, would require even more austerity, including cuts in the already diminished pensions.