Former education minister and SYRIZA MP Nikos Filis says that the government should use the large primary surplus to at least postpone pension cuts scheduled for 1 January, 2019, a date to which the government has agreed with creditors and passed into law.
“Last year the government was forced – even though it was not in the 2015 agreement – to accept [these pension cuts] so as not to impede the bailout evaluation. Now we have an economy that produces huge surpluses. Why should we cut people’s pensions for 2019, since we can make ends meet? Those cuts constitute harsh austerity,” he told Real FM.
Filis called for a public dialogue and a minimum consensus with the main opposition on such issues, including the requirement for a 3.5 percent primary surplus until 2022.
“Since everyone agrees that the surpluses should be reduced – the government, opposition parties, and the Bank of Greece – why not have a public debate to express this common position?” he said.
Filis also called for public debate on debt relief, so that the opposition can take a public stand.
It is wrong to talk about elections now. The discussion now should be on the negotiations, and what we can gain before and after the exit from the memorandum. All else is disorienting. Political developments will be determined by the outcome of negotiations,” he said.