Claims expressed for backdated increases in roughly 850 former Parliament deputies' pensions and salaries were met with the categorical rejection by Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday, who underlined that "any such demand is an insult to the commonly shared sense of justice, particularly in the present fiscal conjuncture". Papaconstantinou made the statement in response to news reports on "backdated remunerations" claimed by former MPs.
"The demand for backdated adjustment of Parliamentary pensions or pay offends all sense of common justice, especially at the present fiscal conjunction, and the finance ministry is not prepared to satisfy any such demand and will make every necessary action in this direction," Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou stressed in written statement.
Parliament President Filippos Petsalnikos echoed the minister's words, stressing that "we must all be aware of the critical moments the country is going through and the painful sacrifices that Greek citizens are having to shoulder".
The 850 former MPs that are seeking the increase through the courts, and are basing their claim on a 1975 law that links pay and pensions increases for MPs with those received by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who was recently awarded hefty backdated increases following a court case and 2008 ministerial decision.
Though in a strict sense entirely legal, the move was strongly criticised as inappropriate given the country's economic state by several current ministers and party representatives in Parliament on Wednesday. At a rough estimate, satisfying the demands of the former MPs could cost the state as much as 80 million euro.
Those criticising the claim as 'provocative' included Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) MPs Dimitris Papadimoulis and Panagiotis Lafazanis, Deputy Finance Minister Philippos Sahinidis, PASOK rapporteur Christos Protopapas, ND's Manolis Kefalogiannis, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) MP Spyros Halvatzis and Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) leader George Karatzaferis.