Govt, previous SYRIZA ministers trade barbs over handful of new monthly pensions exceeding 8K euros; recalculation announced

Tuesday, 30 July 2019 12:33
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The labor and social insurance ministry promised to recalculate all "high-end" pension rates, with the relevant minister referring to a "restart", in the wake of the revelation that some beneficiaries - under the 2016 "Katrougalos Law" - were set for monthly payments of between 8,000 and, in one case, up to nearly 24,000 euros.

According to the new Mitsotakis government, most of the beneficiaries in the extremely high benefits scale - in a country bailed out three times by institutional creditors since 2010 - are former bank executives, high-ranking officials of state-run utilities, self-employed professionals (lawyers, notaries, civil engineers), as well as journalists who paid into the former ETAP-MME primary pension fund.

The revelations snowballed into a major political tussle this week, with the new center-right government accusing the outgoing leftist government of allowing "loopholes" in the relevant 2016 omnibus law. The Katrougalos law, named after the leftist labor minister at the time, mostly cut primary and supplementary social security benefits, especially for those applying for pension after the date of its passage.

Conversely, the individuals set to receive the mammoth - by post-bailout Greece standards - were high-ranking and well-paid executives and professionals who paid into their fund for more than 35 years. Some beneficiaries made social security contributions to two funds. After Jan. 1, 2019, moreover, a maximum ceiling for monthly social security payments was abolished in Greece.

 In a bid to deflect the criticism and whatever "fallout" in public opinion, the former deputy minister, Tassos Petropoulos, said the outgoing Tsipras government was not given "enough time" to legislate "corrections" to the current legal framework, while the previous minister, Efi Achtsioglou, charged that the New Democracy (ND) government was "lying".

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