OPINION

Honesty and reliability

The government has claimed that it will move ahead on dealing with crucial issues such as social security reform by using consensual procedures like an open dialogue with the interested parties, such as workers’ and employers’ unions. This will work only if the government then goes on to make the tough but necessary decisions required to safeguard the future viability of the funds and ensure that today’s 30- and 40-year-olds will receive their pensions when that day comes. But the government must come to the table with specific proposals that will be open to serious discussion. Unfortunately, by not revealing what its exact plans are so far, the government has failed to prove that it is taking this dialogue seriously. The government also does not appear to take contribution evasion seriously, as it is itself guilty of owing 1.5 billion euros – a modest estimate – to the Social Security Foundation (IKA). For the government to be convincing at the negotiation table, it first must be honest and reliable. Otherwise, its social partners will never participate in the dialogue and would also be justified in not doing so.