ECONOMY

Audit court restores pensions of uniformed officers and professors

The State Audit Council has issued another decision certain to cause problems at the Finance Ministry, having deemed as unconstitutional cuts to the pensions of the armed forces, the police, university professors and National Health System executive medical staff.

According to early ministry estimates, covering the cost of paying the difference to former members of the police and armed forces alone concerning the period from June 2012 to date will amount to some 250 million euros, while the permanent cost that should be added to the state budget from 2015 onward is estimated at almost 100 million per annum.

Ministry officials said that court decisions have to be respected and applied according to the budget’s capacity. They added that the ministry has not yet received the official decision of the council’s plenary, and that the ministry will need to examine the details of the verdict before any measures are taken. They did however stress that army pensioners have already had their claims settled through recent legislation.

The plenary’s decision will need to be implemented immediately by the government as the state does not have the right to appeal unless another supreme court issues a verdict to the contrary. In such a case, legal sources told Kathimerini, the case would be referred to a Supreme Special Court.

The court convened behind closed doors last week and with three almost unequivocal decisions annulled the government’s decision for the retroactive reduction of army pensioners implemented in August 2012 as unconstitutional, illegal and in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.

With 27 votes in favor and just two against, the court’s plenary decided that the government’s act to reduce the pensions of military personnel “is legally unfounded and without an object.” It also argued that the move was in violation of the European human rights charter as the state failed to establish that the cut to pensions was dictated by reasons of general public or social interest.

A majority of 21 to eight decided that the cuts to pensions of National Health System medical directors and university professors contravene constitutional provisions for equality, proportionality, meritocracy and ownership.