OPINION

Social security on shifting sands

It is difficult to understand why unions and opposition parties are refusing to take part in a broad dialogue about reforming the social security system, a problem that threatens the foundations of the country’s economy as well as its social cohesion. Figures presented today in Kathimerini show just how urgent the problem is while also indicating the shifting nature of the circumstances shaping the issue. It appears that the first signs of trouble will begin in 2015, and by 2050, one in five of the euros the country produces (that is, 25 percent) will have to be paid out in pensions. In other European countries, this percentage ranges from 4.4 to 17.3 percent. Just how critical the situation will become is also apparent in the fact that pensions are now paid out of workers’ current incomes and not from previously deposited capital. Worst of all, the economic environment is extremely fluid and conditions are continually changing. The growth rate, which has been higher than expected, has been a positive development but negative events cannot be ruled out in the future, which may well cause a further deterioration of the situation. All of the above show that the social security system should not be exploited for cheap partisan conflicts. It is an issue on which the country’s future social cohesion depends. A society that respects its future, not to mention that of its children, should keep a close eye on the problem and strive to be a part of the solution, instead of spouting slogans. This applies in particular to the unions, which after all are, or should be, representative of the collective will of the workers, as well as the opposition parties, which represent entire sectors of Greek society.