Draft pension law 'vague and imprecise', Court of Audit finds

During an in-camera session of Greece's Court of Audit on Thursday, justices criticised several articles in a draft law changing the pension system as "vague and imprecise," sources claimed.

Under the new pension law, all main pensions over 1,200 euro will be cut by 20 percent and all pensions above 1,000 euro for pensioners younger than 55 years old (affecting an estimated 70,000 pensioners) will be slashed by 40 percent. The changes will affect employees in the civil service, local authorities, public-sector legal entities following the same pension regime as civil servants, Railway Organisation of Greece employees and staff at their social insurance fund.

The justices questioned whether the measure for those under 55 was counter to the European Convention of Human Rights and the Constitution, expressing fears that the measure will not hold up in courts, as well as issues of inequality created by favourable measures for members of the military.

They also expressed reservations about the terms used to describe the 'labour reserve' measure, which they said was only found in laws concerning disciplinary proceedings, asking Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos to properly define the term.

Another query were the draft bill's references to the new wage scale, which as they pointed out does not yet exist unless the pensions bill and wage scale bill are in some way combined.

An article that rescinds acts for buying the recognition of pensionable years, backdated to January 1, 2011, was also criticised as 'vague', with reservations concerning whether it could be backdated, while another outlining exceptions to the rule for a 40 percent cut in pensions was judged problematic because it raised issues of equality.

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