Greece's main social insurance and pension fund IKA was in a "difficult situation" but would not go bankrupt, assured Labour and Social Insurance Minister George Koutroumanis in an interview published by the Sunday edition of the newspaper "To Vima". "We have before us the hardest winter of the last decades. The course of unemployment and the recovery of social insurance fund revenues depends directly on the overall course of the country," he stressed.

    He played down the likelihood that IKA might run out of cash, however, noting that half the annual deficit could be dealt with by restricting spending on pharmaceuticals.

    Koutroumanis said that pension funds might start to face serious problems if the crisis continued unabated after 2012 but he forecast that 2012 would be the year in which the economy will stabilise and the first signs of a recovery will begin to emerge.

    He stressed that a number of measures will be passed in September that will go into effect from the start of 2012 and will include cuts in supplementary pension funds running a deficit.