Line drawn at ex-MPs’ pen­sions

Gov­ern­ment says it will not pay for­mer deputies who are su­ing for 80 mil­lion eu­ros in back pay­ments

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

For­mer MPs claim­ing some 80 mil­lion eu­ros in retroac­tive pen­sions will not have their de­mands met, the gov­ern­ment said yes­ter­day af­ter ju­di­cial of­fi­cials re­vealed that more than 800 ex-lawmakers are su­ing to re­cover the money.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou said the re­tired deputies’ claims were “an in­sult to the com­mon per­cep­tion of jus­tice, es­pe­cially in the cur­rent fis­cal sit­u­a­tion.” He said the gov­ern­ment had no in­ten­tion of pay­ing up.

Un­der cur­rent rules, lawmakers who serve two terms can claim a pen­sion that is equal to 80 per­cent of their MP salary.

Par­lia­ment Speaker Filip­pos Pet­sal­nikos sug­gested that for­mer mem­bers of the House should take into ac­count the cur­rent cir­cum­stances and drop their court cases. “Ev­ery­one has to ap­pre­ci­ate the cru­cial mo­ments the coun­try is go­ing through and the painful sac­ri­fices that Greeks are mak­ing.”

All the op­po­si­tion par­ties said they dis­agreed with the steps be­ing taken by ex-MPs, with some cur­rent lawmakers de­scrib­ing the moves as “un­eth­i­cal” and “provoca­tive.” Deputy Fi­nance Min­is­ter Filip­pos Sa­chini­dis said the legal battle would only in­crease vot­ers’ frus­tra­tion and anger at the coun­try’s politi­cians.

Florentia Kaldi, a judge at the Court of Au­dit, told a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on Tues­day that some 800 lawmakers who served be­tween 2003 and 2008 have sued. Their ac­tion is based on a 1975 law link­ing MPs’ salaries to that the head of the Supreme Court re­ceives. At var­i­ous times since then, deputies’ salaries have been in­creased, which has re­sulted in for­mer MPs who re­ceive a pen­sion hav­ing their re­tire­ment pay in­creased. How­ever, since 2003, par­lia­ments have voted not to raise salaries.

In 2008, a for­mer deputy sued for back pen­sion pay and won. Since then five more re­tired lawmakers have won their cases. They claimed that since they are no longer serv­ing MPs, they are not bound by Par­lia­ment’s com­mit­ment not to ap­ply the law to in­crease deputies’ wages.

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