Greek senior citizens angered over austerity measures

The new austerity deal includes the 13th cut in pensions since 2010 and a reduction in tax-free allowances on income that has left many of the country's seniors in despair.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Protesters during a demonstration marking a 24-hour general strike against the latest round of austerity measures in Athens, Greece. (May 17, 2017)

Greece's parliament is due to vote on Thursday on a new round of austerity for the country. It's already made $5.5 billion in cuts to try to seal a bailout deal from international lenders. But the latest measures have left many of the country's senior citizens struggling, and angry.

Protests are expected to continue against the austerity package, which is designed to unlock funds from an € 86 billion euro ($96B) bailout.

New austerity measures attached to the funds' release include the 13th cut in pensions since 2010, and a reduction in tax-free allowances on income. This comes after years of cuts that threw the country into deep recession.

Unemployment is running at close to one-in-four and has risen to 48 percent among youth.

However, in these past seven years of recession, it is Greek pensioners who have seen their income shrink drastically. With new pension cuts of up to 18 percent and higher taxation, many fear they won't be able to bear the burden.

TRT World’s Valentini Anagnostopoulou has more from Athens.

A feasible deal

Greece has agreed to the further spending cuts to try to end a logjam in talks with its foreign lenders, the EU, and the International Monetary Fund, over its bailout progress.

Once Greek lawmakers approve the new measures, eurozone finance ministers will discuss disbursement of the loans at the next scheduled Eurogroup meeting on May 22.

Athens needs the funds urgently to repay $8.18 billion in debt maturing in July.

A government official said Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Wednesday morning that "a deal was feasible" by Monday.

Greece has needed three multi-billion bailouts since 2010. But additional belt-tightening is a contentious issue for Tsipras's leftist-led government, which now trails its conservative opponents in polls.

TRTWorld and agencies