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“MPs would receive €24,000 in retroactive payments” stirs Greece’s political kitchen

Greek lawmakers secretly voted last week that they are also entitled to retroactive salary payments as those civil servants in the category of special payrolls, media reported on Monday.

According to a press release issued on November 12 by the Union for the Protection of Labor (ENIPEKK), each lawmaker is entitled to a amount of 24,442 euros in retroactive payments from the state.

The amount refers to wages cuts of €1,111 for each MP for the time period of 22 months.

According to the Greek Constitution wages for MPs are equivalent to the President of Areios Pagos, the country’s Supreme Court, the statement said among others.

Short time later, former SYRIZA MP Alexis Mitropoulos was claiming towards media that the legislation last week about retroactive payments to judges automatically means also retroactive payments to lawmakers.

The news spread like a wildfire and as expected, triggered an outrage in a country where millions of private sector workers earn wages insufficient to make a descent living.

Main opposition New Democracy quickly reacted to the news and issued a statement accoridng to which party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has ordered lawmakers to abolish their right to receive the retroactive payments.

Similar announcements were issued by the Movement of Change (PASOK/KINAL) and To Potami. Both parties stressed in their statements that their MPs cannot claim these payments when the Greeks are tested in harsh economic times.

While the political kitchen pot was being stirred again, Parliament Speaker Nikos Voutsis  declared even if with some delay that MPs are not entitled for retroactive payments because of the amendment last week.

He reminded that lawmakers’ salaries were reduced by 10% as of 1. January 2016 (decision November 2015) and that the retroactive legislation is valid for cut wages from August 2012 until June 2014. Furthermore he added that MPs’ salaries are disconnected from the judges’ salaries since 2008.

“ND, KINAL and To Potami should have asked at the Parliament first and confirm the news before going public,” Voutsis said calling the whole issue “nonsense!”

One more Greek version of “Much Ado About Nothing”? Time will show…

Fact is that Greece’s political parties are super quick to react to whatever X-, Y- or Z-claim and sometimes one has to spend half a day to find out what is fake and what is true. 

PS my head aches from banging it to the wall…

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