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Retirees in Greece Win Court Battle for Bailout Refund

Αssociated Press

An elderly man walks in Monastiraki square, usually the most crowded area in central Athens, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS — A high court in Greece ruled Tuesday in favor of retirees who brought a class action case to demand the reimbursement of money cut from their income during international bailouts.

The case was being closely watched in Greece, which is reeling from the economic impact of the pandemic and is expected to slide back into a severe recession after a decade-long effort to recover from financial crisis.

The Council of State administrative court ruled that pension cuts imposed during 2015-16 occurred without the proper legislative procedure and the money should be returned.

The court only ruled in favor of retirees whose associations were directly involved in the complaint. But the ruling could pave the way for broader claims that would have a greater fiscal impact on the country's troubled public finances.

The government said it would comply with the decision.

"We are studying today's ruling and, taking into account our fiscal ability as well as what the economy can withstand, the government will announce when and how it will implement the decision," a Labor and Social Affairs Ministry statement said.

Greek media have reported that the government could apply the ruling to all affected retirees, even those who weren't directly involved in the complaint.

Retirees' income was cut by successive governments during international bailouts by European Union institutions and the International Monetary Fund between 2010 and 2018.