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New Democracy Says SYRIZA Pension Cuts Will Go On

January 4, 2018

ATHENS – With Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras saying Greece will make a clean break this year from three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($392.9 billion), the major rival New Democracy said the effect of austerity won’t.

Tsipras, reneging on promises to help workers, pensioners and the poor, imposed an avalanche of new taxes and hikes, many taking effect on Jan. 1, and also agreed to more pension cuts and taxes on low-and-moderate-income families as part of terms for a third rescue package, this one for 86 billion euros ($103.65 billion) he said he would never seek nor accept but did both.

Tsipras said Greece will be able to finance itself by returning to the markets when the bailouts expire in August but hasn’t mentioned there will be continued cuts in social security benefits and welfare bonuses in 2018 and 2019, New Democracy said.

The Conservatives said a pensioner who got 842.5 euros ($1015.41) per month in 2014 saw the figure drop to 785 euros ($946.11) in 2017, and will see an even further reduction in 2018 and 2019, with the monthly payment falling to 705 euros ($849.69) and then to 670 euros ($807.50) after that. The overall losses of more than eight years of austerity could reach 50 percent cuts in benefits and 38 percent or more in lump sums, earlier figures indicated.

New Democracy also noted that SYRIZA and its junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) had reduced the EKAS monthly bonus for the lowest-income pensioners and now will eliminate it completely, breaking another vow.

The party said that those who got a monthly benefit under 670 euros ($807.50) are even worse off,  and those who received 580 euros ($699.03) per month in 2014 now seeing a paycheck of 480 euros ($578.15), a reduction of 17 percent.

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