Greek PM says pension reforms necessary

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras willing to talk to protesting farmers but says pension reforms are not optional

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras looks on during a meeting with Mayor of Piraeus Yannis Moralis (not pictured) at his office at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Greece, February 11, 2016.

Updated Feb 11, 2016

Even though farmers are set to protest outside the Greek Parliament, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras stated the new pension reforms are not optional.

Farmers will protest on Friday and Saturday in an attempt to confront the left-wing government.

"We will only examine the possibility of a dialogue with the prime minister if he rescinds the (pension reform) bill," said Vangelis Boutas, a representative of a farmers alliance of 65 groups across Greece staging protests.

Tsipras’ government is struggling to deal with the new austerity measures its creditors have imposed as Greek citizens are firmly against them.

Tsipras has rejected demands to renegotiate with creditors saying that “the reform is not optional."

"We have to be clear that the reform is not optional, or just a conventional obligation of the country," Tsipras said. 

"It is absolutely necessary for the social insurance system to have a future." 

Tsipras promised to offer additional help to some groups hit hard by the reforms.

"We are already doing that with the self-employed ... we are aspiring to do the same with farmers, provided they want to sit down for a dialogue to find a solution," he said in a cabinet meeting.

Repairing the pension system is a rescue plan for suffering pensioners, having already experienced 11 pension cuts in the past five years.

TRTWorld, Reuters