Spain has no plans to slash pensions next year as part of its efforts to bring its public deficit under control, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Friday.
“With the data that I currently have, I have no intention to lower pensions next year,” Rajoy said in a rare solo press conference called to mark his first months in office.
With one in four people out of work in Spain, growing numbers of people have come to rely on the pension payments of parents or grandparents to survive.
Last month, Rajoy’s conservative government introduced a fourth austerity package since it took office in December, aiming to slash the public deficit by 65 billion euros ($80 billion) over the next two and a half years.
The government announced the austerity measures after European Union finance ministers agreed to relax Spain’s deficit target for this year to 6.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product from from the previous 5.3 per cent.
The austerity measures include a rise in the sales tax to 21 per cent from 18 per cent, cuts to unemployment benefits and eliminating civil servants’ annual Christmas bonus.
“These are not nice measures, these are not popular measures. We do not promise miracles. It is a huge task but not an impossible task,” Rajoy said.
Support for Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party fell sharply in July after it announced its latest austerity measures.
Spain will study the new measures being planned by the European Central Bank to resolve the eurozone debt crisis before taking any decision as to whether or not to use them, Rajoy said.