Christos Protopapas, former union leader and Socialist labor minister, says that Greece’s international lenders have put the country under pressure to impose new austerity measures in a bid to resolve an ongoing budget disagreement.
He made the remarks on Thursday after attending two-day talks in the French capital, Paris, this week with representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The negotiations, however, did not succeed in resolving the standoff, according to Press TV
He added that the creditors are still in conflict with the government in Athens over deficit projections in the 2015 budget.
“What they’re saying is that they don’t believe the budget will work and that we should follow the well-trodden road of cutting pensions and higher taxes,” he told private Skai television, adding, “Our response is that we won’t take new measures that will further burden the average citizen.”
The development comes as Athens and its bailout lenders are negotiating a final package of cost-cutting reforms before eurozone loan installments come to an end this year.
The Greek parliament is debating the 2015 budget, which projects 2.9-percent growth and a near-zero annual deficit. The budget is slated to be voted on December 7.
Greeks have lost about a third of their disposable income since the debt crisis erupted in 2009.
According to EU official job data service, Eurostat, 56.3 percent of young people in Greece were without a job in June 2014.
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