The number of public sector pensioners has soared by over 80,000 since 2005, according to data presented in Parliament by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, who said they cost the state 6.56 billion euros gross last year.

From 367,687 pensioners from the state sector in 2005, their number has reached 449,341 this year according to April figures, with public spending on pensions already amounting to 1.95 billion euros in the year to April, Staikouras said. Nevertheless the drop in salaries has brought the sum of pension and salary expenditure in the public sector almost on a par with 2005, as it is estimated to reach 18.4 billion euros in 2013 against 18.1 billion euros in 2005.

Eight years ago the cost of salaries stood at 13.9 billion euros and this year it is projected to amount to no more than 12.7 billion euros. The record amount of salary spending was in 2009, with 18.5 billion euros.