NEWS

Pension cuts back on the table

pension-cuts-back-on-the-table

The government’s proposal to Greece’s creditors for reform of the country’s ailing pension system is likely to foresee 50 percent of the savings coming from increases to social security contributions and the other half from cuts to pensions, chiefly though supplementary pensions, Kathimerini understands.

Though the government has consistently resisted calls by creditors for further cuts to primary pensions, it is likely to make some small concessions. Apart from reductions to supplementary pensions, it is expected that the government’s proposal will foresee reductions to the size of lump sums paid out to retirees.

Government sources on Tuesday indicated that there could be some “adjustments” to primary pensions too but that these would only comprise small reductions and would only affect monthly pensions over 2,500 euros and cases where retirees receive more than one pension.

Authorities are also said to be considering the use of revenue from games of chance and from the state privatization agency to bolster the pension system. Further, ther is the possibility of a tax on bank transactions of more than 1,000 euros which Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis on Tuesday confirmed was on the table.

Members of the Government Council for Economic Policy (KYSOIP) met Tuesday under Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis and discussed the issue of pension reform as well as plans for social welfare initiatives aimed to helping poorer citizens.

Sources indicated after the meeting that the government is committed to carry out a series of actions aimed at rebuilding the welfare state and fighting unemployment as well as boosting the health and education systems.

Meanwhile, as rumors swirled about a possible cooperation between the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks (ANEL) coalition and the small Union of Centrists, government sources said it wasn’t part of the administration’s “strategy” to seek a partnership with that party. The comments came after several government officials made positive statements about Union of Centrists leader Vassilis Leventis.

Leventis was blunt on Tuesday, telling Skai that a partnership between his party and SYRIZA-ANEL would be an “idiotic exchange” and would “shatter the dreams of the youth that voted for us.”