Mitsotakis pledges to immediately cut social security contributions; allow private sector involvement in supplementary sector

Tuesday, 04 September 2018 22:01
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Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday reiterated that, if elected as the next prime minister, his future government will immediately reduce social security contributions and promote private sector participation in the supplementary pension system - a radical proposal, at least by modern Greek standards.

Mitsotakis, a reform-minded former minister whose ND party now comfortably leads ruling SYRIZA in all mainstream opinion polls over the past year and a half, appeared on an Athens television station's (Alpha) prime-time newscast on Tuesday evening.

Pressed on exactly what he meansby referring to private sector involvement, he cited an individual retirement account managed by a private company that aims to supplement state-allocated primary social security benefits when the beneficiary retires.

Mitsotakis, the son of late Greek premier Constantine Mitsotakis, said high social security contributions in the thrice bailed-out country generated contribution evasion, with the goal being - if he's elected - a 5-percentage point reduction over a period of four years in contributions paid every month for primary social security, i.e. from today's 20 percent to 15 percent.

Both wage-earners and their employers pay for social security coverage in Greece, while self-employed professionals - from plumbers to physicians to shop owners - are now swamped by increasing high contributions as well.

At the same time, Mitsotakis promised that any such liberal reform must maintain fiscal stability, a nod to Greece's still anxious institutional creditors, who hold the vast portion of Greece's external debt.

In touching on another "sensitive nerve" bedeviling the current leftist-rightist coalition government, he also promised to revise a controversial law that has released a still undetermined number of convicts from Greek prisons - including felons convicted for violent crimes - as well as to stiffen the regime for early releases. The Tsipras government passed an early release program in a bid to relieve prison overcrowding, as it said.

Along those lines, the president also pledged to re-established maximum security prisons for individuals convicted on terrorism charges.

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