March 13, 2012 - 20:25 AMT
Greece boosts cuts to get further aid

Greece will have to slash a further 5.5 percent of GDP in government spending in 2013 and 2014 to meet agreed fiscal targets underpinning the second international bailout for Athens, a European Commission report said, according to Reuters.

The Compliance Report by the European Union's executive describes the progress of Greek reforms necessary for the release of new euro zone money to Athens and recommends the first disbursement be made as soon as possible.

The report, obtained by Reuters, said a package of savings adopted by Greece in early 2012 worth 1.5 percent of gross domestic product should allow Athens to meet the target of bringing the primary deficit down to 1 percent this year.

The report said that in preparation for the new cuts the government was reviewing public spending programmes, focusing on savings in social transfers, defence and the restructuring of central and local administration.

There would be job cuts in the public sector according to a redundancy and recruitment rule of 1 entry for 5 exits. Athens is to further cut pharmaceutical spending and operational spending of hospitals as well as welfare cash benefits.

The new measures are necessary for Greece to keep receiving financial aid from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund under a second bailout worth 130 billion euros that will keep Athens financed through 2014.

But to get subsequent tranches of the financing, Greece has to achieve a primary surplus of 1.8 percent in 2013 and 4.5 percent in 2014.