As the government gets ready to make implement major pension cuts in six months’ time, the federation of employees at social security funds (POPOKP) said on Thursday that the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) had a deficit of almost 1 billion euros last year.
The federation’s general meeting yesterday heard that the picture the government and the fund have presented regarding EFKA finances is false, as the fund’s revenues do not justify the excessive surpluses reported.
During the meeting, the fund employees presented data showing that EFKA received an extraordinary amount in funding from the program for the payment of overdue arrears of the state, but instead covered only the arrears it had already scheduled to pay. Those dues were not paid from the EFKA budget, but from the state budget. Therefore, POPOKP president Antonis Kouroklis said, the reality is far from the 1.52-billion-euro surplus the government has boasted about for last year, when in fact it ran up a deficit of almost 1 billion euros.
The Labor and Social Security Ministry scrambled to respond to the accusations by POPOKP, speaking of efforts to distort the truth through an unprecedented narrative of creative accounting.
“The independent Hellenic Statistical Authority has checked all the figures of EFKA’s fiscal results, as well as of the other social security funds, showing that all funds had a total surplus of 2.93 billion euros last year, the bulk of which came from EFKA,” the ministry said in a statement.
What the ministry did not refute was POPOKP’s claim that the recalculation of pensions as of January 2019 will lead to huge cuts. Although government officials are trying to convince pensioners that there is a chance the reductions could be averted, the cuts have been rubber-stamped and will even affect low pensioners. POPOKP said the cuts will come up to 173 euros for pensions of 1,000 euros per month gross, concerning pensioners of the former TEBE fund of freelance professionals, while widows will suffer handout cuts up to 50 percent.