Line drawn at ex-MPs’ pensions
Government says it will not pay former deputies who are suing for 80 million euros in back payments
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.