President of federation of insurance funds’ employees: EFKA ‘surplus’ actually a deficit

29 June 2018
677 Views

The leadership of Greece’s federation of employees of social insurance entities on Thursday flatly disputed government claims that the new Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA) is operating with a surplus, charging, in fact, that the new fund’s deficit is nearing one billion euros.

The federation’ s president, Antonis Kourouklis, told members that EFKA is actually “sacrificing” 30,000 new pensioners in the country in order to post a “virtual surplus”.

He also disputed figures supplied by the relevant social insurances ministry and the Fund’s administration, which ostensibly show a surplus for 2017 reaching 1.52 billion euros, referring to “accounting tricks”, extraordinary subsidies funneled by the state and even transferring a portion of 2017 obligations to 2018’s balance sheets.

In offering details on what he called pending pension cuts as of Jan. 1, 2019, Kourouklis said EFKA beneficiaries with up to 24 years and 10 months of contributions today receive 519.23 euros, which will be cut by 72.37 euros at the beginning of the year, i.e. 446.86 euros per month.

For EFKA beneficiaries with at least 30 years and nine months, the current pension rate is 800.71 euros per month, dropping to 656.58 euros a month in 2019, a reduction of 144.13 euros.

In a diametrically conflicting statement, relevant Deputy Social Insurances Minister Tassos Petropoulos referred to “very high surpluses” posted by EFKA for 2018, speaking in Parliament during debate on a draft bill submitted by his ministry.

Asked about pension reductions in 2019, an austerity measure already agreed to with creditors, and one that will be implemented even after the current bailout ends in August 2018, Petropoulos merely said that due to “for reasons of appropriate political management, these issues will be taken up by the Prime Minister”.

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