NEWS

Pension bill to be tabled next month

National Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday that the government will present its social security proposals to Parliament by the end of June, whether the representatives of labor and employers’ unions have signed onto them or not, and added that tax reforms would also be brought before Parliament next month. The social security announcement set the stage for a week of intensive horse-trading as the civil servants’ federation (ADEDY) has called a 24-hour strike for Wednesday, the General Confederation of Greek Labor (GSEE), which represents private sector and broader public sector employees, is to meet on Friday and the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) is holding general meeting tomorrow. «Either way, the social security bill will be presented to Parliament by the end of June, even if the social partners do not sign the National Social Security Accord,» Christodoulakis told NET state television’s Seventh Day program. Christodoulakis expressed the hope that things would not come to this, though, as the representatives of all involved «were exceptionally positive regarding all aspects of funding for the new social security system.» He said that he was prepared to give SEV a copy of the British actuarial report drawn up last year (which foresaw a social security deficit of 11.1 percent of GDP over a 30-year-period, while the government says that with state funding and proposed changes, this will come to 3.5-7 percent). The government plans to inject 1.26 billion euros (430 billion drachmas) into the Social Security Foundation (IKA) next year, partly to meet the state contribution and also to help Greece’s largest pension fund set up its own reserves. State funding is to come from the regular budget and the issuing of government bonds, Christodoulakis has said. The minister yesterday also said that the tax burden on real estate will be eased by the tax bill, noting that the purchase and transfer of property will be cheaper, especially with regard to smaller properties. Simitis, who is brother to the Greek prime minister, warned that cloning is a technique that «more than any other can interfere with human lives.»  Furthermore, «When a state, a government or a society sets out to create human molds on the basis of certain criteria, to create future human beings, that will be the end of freedom.»