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Court rules to reinstate judges’ pensions after bailout cuts

Greece’s Court of Audit has ruled to reinstate the pensions of retired judges to the levels before 2012 that it before the cuts imposed by the first bailout. The decision triggered an outrage in the society as some media reported that judges could receive at least 35,000 euros each in retrospective payments.

Lawmakers, whose salaries and pensions are in relevance to those of judges  have called the Labor Minister asking whether they will have their pensions reinstated, too.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Adonis Georgiadis was quick to take position to the issue and told media on Thursday that the ministry is “studying its consequences.”

The minister dismissed the idea that all retired judges would benefit from the ruling, noting that a retroactive payment would impose a substantial financial burden.

“Courts cannot exercise fiscal policy,” Georgiadis told state-run broadcaster ERT. “I respect the judges a lot and I agree that their status should be held high. The point is what can be done. It will not be applied to everyone, there is no money,” he said, adding that retroactive payments to all would lead to “a complete fiscal derailment.”

“I don’t give retroactive payments to anyone. There is no way we can cut the pension of a poor person and retroactively give away millions. There is an element of social justice,” he added.

The court’s decision was reached on Wednesday following a majority vote of 28-3 and follows an appeal by three retired judges to the Supreme Fiscal Court. The ruling implies that the retired judges’ pensions must be set at levels above 60% of the salaries of their active colleagues, as the Salary Court has decided.

Media clarified that for sure these three judges who appealed can receive retrospective payments and that anyone else wishing the same he has to file an appeal to the court.

PS Note that when unions, pensioners’ federations etc  appeal to courts against the pension cuts in the early 2010s, judges ruled that the cuts were not against the Constitution.

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