NEWS

Multi-bill tabled in Parliament

Coalition concerned about provision for merging auxiliary pension funds as it will affect armed forces

The multi-bill of reforms needed for Greece to receive its next 1 billion euros in bailout loans and pave the way for the successful conclusion of the next troika review in September was submitted to Parliament Tuesday.

The government is aiming for the would-be legislation, which has been signed by 13 ministers and two alternate ministers, to be voted through the House by August 8. It runs to 216 pages and includes a wide range of provisions.

Among the new laws the bill seeks to introduce is one that foresees taxpayers or companies found guilty of tax evasion having their tax registration number suspended or withdrawn as punishment. The multi-bill also seeks the creation of 400 new posts for tax inspectors at the General Secretariat for Revenues.

The attempt to merge a number of auxiliary pension funds may prove one of the more contentious aspects of the multi-bill. It provides for a number of such funds, including those for armed forces personnel, joining the main auxiliary social security fund, ETEA. This will lead to the lump sum payments some retirees get being slashed by as much as half.

The government is concerned that this will further test its relationship with the armed forces after the coalition failed to adopt a court ruling instructing it to restore soldiers’, sailors’ and airmen’s wages to the same level as they were in 2012.

Ministers deliberated some time over this measure, concerned that it will lead to a series of resignations among high-ranking officers seeking to secure their pensions before the cuts are implemented.

If passed, the bill will also lead to the creation of a five-member committee, consisting of two deputy parliamentary speakers, two high-ranking judges and a deputy governor of the Bank of Greece. The panel’s job will be to examine the assets declared by ministers, MPs and other public figures in their derivation of wealth (pothen esches) forms.

Also contained in the multi-bill is legislation paving the way for the delineation of Greece’s coastline after the coalition abandoned a draft law relaxing restrictions on commercial activity next to the sea. It withdrew that bill from the House earlier this summer.

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