NEWS

First step in reform of social security

A panel of 11 experts was yesterday given the task over the next 12 months of devising ways to solve Greece’s burgeoning social security problem, even though workers’ representatives have refused to take part in the process. The names of the 11 men that will sit on the independent committee were unveiled by Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis and Labor Minister Savvas Tsitouridis. Alogoskoufis told the experts that they had to «be bold» in their proposals. The committee, which is made up of representatives from employers, the government and opposition parties, has been instructed to find ways to simplify Greece’s complicated social security system while also proposing how the state can afford to fund pensions and healthcare in the future. Greece has a rapidly aging population and there are concerns, like in many other European countries, that in years to come there will not be enough money in the public coffers to pay out pensions. The head of the committee, Nikos Analitis, said the panel would be looking at a range of retirement ages and what their impact on the future of the system would be. Analitis said he would fight to maintain the independence of the committee, adding that he would resign if he felt party politics were influencing the panel’s work. He said he would try to get GSEE, Greece’s largest umbrella union, involved in the process. Alogoskoufis said it was «curious» that unionists refused to sit on the committee.