Greek government continues to tweak its pension reform proposal

As the government continues to tweak its pension reform proposal ahead of the scheduled return to Athens next week of creditor representatives, social opposition to the eyed changes is growing, with the civil servants’ union ADEDY calling a protest for Saturday.

Social Security Minister Giorgos Katrougalos is to meet with Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis on Tuesday to discuss ways of boosting social security revenue from the self-employed without undermining their ability to stay in business.

A biministerial committee is to consider several possible improvements to the reform proposals that Greece has submitted to creditors including the introduction of a favorable status for new entrepreneurs who have set up business over the past five years.

The authorities aim to reduce the pressure on doctors, engineers and lawyers.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas on Monday rebuffed reports that Brussels has responded to Greece’s pension blueprint, noting that the proposal is being evaluated.

In Athens, however, social reactions were clear. In a statement, ADEDY said it would hold a rally at noon on Saturday in Omonia Square, central Athens.

Representatives of other unions opposing the planned changes, including private sector union GSEE, also took part in Tuesday’s meeting.

GSEE and ADEDY are resisting plans for employees’ social security contributions to be raised by half a percentage point.

Greek lawyers, who object to the government’s plans to hike social security contributions for self-employed professionals are to start a two-day strike on Tuesday, complaining that, in combination with tax hikes, the changes would “annihilate” their income.