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Creditors pleased with Greece’s Pension Reforms Plan, the society prepares “dynamic protests”

It looked rather quiet on the Eurogroup front on Thursday. The Greek government bowed to the creditors’ pressure and accepted that the International Monetary Fund remains in the Greek program. The eurozone finance ministers saw “progress” in what the Greeks have been doing since last summer in order to  please the creditors and fulfill the 3. bailout agreement terms & conditions. The EU FinMins also praised the Greek Pension Reforms plan.

Short after, managing Director Christine Lagarge was sending a message to Greeks that the IMF may need until the second quarter of 2016 to decide on whether to take part in the third bailout for Greece. Speaking to German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Lagarde said apart for the question of the debt sustainability, key to IMF’s participation would be also the progress on Pension Reforms.

“It is clear that pension reform is the trigger that will prove that Greece’s economic position is improving,” Lagarde stressed.

The EU FinMins may be pleased with the overhaul of the Greek pensions system, the IMF may consider to be pleased in the near future, but those who are not at all pleased are the Greek current and future pensioners.

Public and private sector unions, farmers and self-employed are preparing dynamic protests in order to express their sound and loud disapproval of the so-called pension reforms.

According to the proposal submitted by the Greek Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos, we can generalize saying that: people will partly pay exorbitant pension contributions and at the end they will all receive the same pension. The government praises its plans as “a fair pension system”, critics speak of “sudden death by social security contributions,” as the regular taxes, the extra taxes, the taxes in advance and the social contributions fees will swallow an 80% of the income.

The first professional group to oppose the Pensions Reforms were the lawyers, who went to the streets on Thursday together with other young professionals like doctors and engineers and spoke of “professional extinction.”

lawyers protest

Some Greek media described the lawyers’ demonstration as “the most stylish protest”.

The public and private sector unions ADEDY and GSEE will launch a protest for tomorrow Saturday at 12 o’ clock at Omonoia Square, the farmers are already warming their tractors up and prepare to block roads and highways.

The first big anti-pension-reforms general strike is scheduled for February 4th 2015.

…and if the Pension Reform reaches the edge, Greeks may go to the ballots boxes even before summer. Because, it is not clear how the SYRIZA-ANEL will manage to keep its 153-seats majority in the Greek Parliament, when the Pensions Reforms will be put for voting.

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2 comments

  1. I only know about the pension system in the UK – and the one in Greece. Here in the UK everyone pays the same percentage of their pay towards their pension as National Insurance contributions. So higher earners pay a lot more than basic wage earners – but everyone gets exactly the same state pension when they retire. In effect the higher earners are subsiding those with low earnings. We have always thought that this was a very fair system. Actually, the self employed in the UK pay much more towards their pensions as they pay two different types of national insurance – but still get the same state pension.

    • The UK state pension is not paid from National Insurance contributions: they only pretend that it is. In reality, all taxes and contributions go into a common pot (called the Consolidated Fund) and pensions and the NHS etc are paid out of that. The calculations about how many years of NI contributions you need are just legal requirements, based on theoretical calculations that are always wrong. In essence, the UK does not have a proper state pension system.