December 15, 2016 / 3:04 PM / a year ago

Greek Finance Minister defends one-off bonus, sees controversy blowing over

BERLIN (Reuters) - Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Thursday defended Athens’ plans to pay out one-off benefits for low-income pensioners ahead of Christmas.

“I don’t think this is a big issue. We have bigger fish to fry,” he told Reuters, a day after euro zone lenders put a short-term debt relief deal for Greece on hold in response to Athens’ proposal for the one-off payout.

Speaking in Berlin, Tsakalotos said Europe needed to show it could solve its own problems in order to restore confidence among working-class people after populist gains in a series of European elections, the Brexit vote and the Italian referendum.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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