Greece’s Tsipras sits down with protesting farmers

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras holds talks with protesting farmers over pension reforms

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) meets with delegates of protesting farmers at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece February 22, 2016.

Representatives of protesting farmers in Greece spoke with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in the official residence of the prime minister, the Maximos Mansion, on Monday over tax reforms and pension cuts.

Tsipras announced measures to boost the agricultural sector and stop roadblocks by farmers.

Farmer Vangelis Papayannopoulos said that the farmer’s representatives had "a substantive dialogue with the prime minister" but said the protests will not stop.

The farmers have temporarily lifted blockades in the of Tempe valley in northern Greece but blocked the village of Promachonas, the main crossing to Bulgaria.

Bulgarian truckers were badly affected by the farmers' blockade and decided to block the Greek border in a counter protest.

Tsipras has not agreed to axe the pension and tax reforms Greece’s creditors demanded.

"The country's recovery must take your position into account, but you must take into account the budgetary requirements," Tsipras told the farmers' representatives.

Tsipras’ spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said that Tsipras proposed new measures on pensions with certain rises until 2021 and committed to protect those with the lowest income.

The farmers, coming from all across Greece, have been protesting for about a month.

Two weeks ago the farmers clashed with angry police outside the Greek parliament while blocking the road with tractors.

Tsipras then proposed to hold talks with them but the farmers initially rebuffed his proposal.

Greece has been struggling to recover from a severe economic crisis, with austerity measures and capital controls continuing to hit the livelihoods of its citizens.

TRTWorld and agencies