Government sources on Sunday replied sharply to critics of the proposed pension system reforms, noting that the previous PASOK and New Democracy governments bore a large share of the blame for the current state of the system.
“There are many ways in which one can undermine the foundations of a social insurance system and the Samaras-Venizelos governments have used them all,” they commented in response to critics.
Pointing to a recent article by former PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, in which he opposed the prospect of increasing the ‘non-wage cost’ of employment, the sources noted that this essentially opposed any increase in social insurance contributions and would inevitably lead to pension cuts, given the drastic reduction of pension fund reserves as a result of PSI.
“Mr. Venizelos glosses over the fact that a much larger reduction in social insurance contributions in July 2014 didn’t create new jobs, nor increase available income anywhere,” the sources said. Instead, they served only to increase the pressure on pension funds, which had been their purpose all along, the same sources added.
They also levelled criticism at the head of the General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE) umbrella trade
union group Yiannis Panagopoulos for opposing the government proposals, saying that his arousal was good news to
“hundreds of thousands of workers, who wonder where he has been since 2010 and why he did not react to the 11 successive cuts to pensions, or the snatching of 13 billion euros from the pension funds via PSI.”