Pension reform to prop up funds hit by PSI, Katrougalos says


Labor and Social Insurance Minister Giorgos Katrougalos told a press conference on Friday that a pension system overhaul was aimed at correcting "distortions" and addressing the damage wreaked by a private sector participation in the writedown of Greece's sovereign debt, known as PSI, in 2012, and successive bailouts.

Katrougalos conceded that Greek pension funds have "no reserves," saying the PSI had "dealt the final blow." 

"We are trying to do three things at once: contain spending, incorporate a series of reforms, and create a unified system," he told reporters.

Katrougalos pledged that the new pension system being planned by the SYRIZA-led government will be fairer, noting that it foresees common rules for all retirees.

Asked about freelance workers who currently enjoy little protection, he indicated that there would be no excessive burden. The social security contributions of freelance employees will be 6.5 percent with the remaining 13.5 percent to be paid by the employer, he said.

Ahead of talks with European officials on Greece's proposal for pension reform, Katrougalos noted that the issue was of national but also European importance. "We want to give out the message that Europe must retain its social character."