Pension cuts not necessary, government spokesman Tzanakopoulos tells ERT1

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos repeated that pension cuts were not essential in statements to the public television channel ERT1 on Thursday, while advising patience until the talks underway with the institutions were done.

He noted that this discussion was taking place on two levels, with the government presenting figures to show that the measures was not structural, since it did not affect the sustainability of the pension system, and also not fiscally necessary, since there was sufficient fiscal space to meet targets without it.

Questioned about the recent arrests of journalists on charges of libel, Tzanakopoulos noted the need to “strike a balance” between press freedom and the ability of people to protect themselves against defamation, while noting that a discussion should begin on applying the “in flagrante” arrest process for libel suits.

“My personal opinion is that it does not serve and could be abolished,” he said.

Questioned about a new video showing the police in the process of arresting gay activist Zak Kostopoulos, who died before he reached hospital for reasons that are still under investigation during an incident inside a jewellery shop in Athens, Tzanakopoulos said it was a “shocking incident”.

According to the spokesman, this was a phenomenon that showed that “hate is spreading in Greek society,” and providing the substrate for the development of fascist attitudes and fascist political forces.

On the actions of the police, he noted that the present government did not support such attitudes in the police force and considered that its stance should be different, respecting human rights and acting to protect the citizens.

“The responsibility of the political leadership – and this it will do – is to investigate the situation exhaustively,” he added, stressing that justice would be served and condemning the incident as unacceptable.