The Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Kostis Hatzidakis, in an interview with the “Free Sunday Press”, announces pension increases for everyone in 2023, noting that the low pensioners will see them first and not only those with many years of insurance life.
Referring to the issue of the personal difference that will cut off the increase for many, Mr. Hatzidakis does not completely close the possibility of some corrective intervention although he considers that “the margins of the budget are limited”, after the aids that have been given in the last months.
The rate of increase will be equal to half of the sum of inflation and growth, says the minister. This means more than 5% with the data so far.
For the retrospectives, he makes it clear that the pensioners (more than 350,000) who are vindicated by the decision of the Supreme Court will be paid, while he keeps his cards closed for those who had not filed lawsuits for the same cuts.
For the unemployed, he announces new employment programs but also deletions from the registers if they say no to a job 3 times.
In more detail, regarding the upcoming increases in pensions in 2023, he states that “we will indeed have an “unfreeze”, that is, an increase in pensions based on the legislation. The increase will be determined on the basis of the mathematical formula provided by the law, which adds the GDP growth and inflation and divides the sum by two. This applies to all retirees: Too many who will see the profit straight into their pockets. And some, who have a bigger personal difference, because of the Katrougalos Law, and will to “gnaw” with these increases. They, although they will not see anything in their pocket immediately, will be in a better position, so that they will also come out victorious in future increases! In addition to the increase in pensions in 2023, the Prime Minister has also spoken on the intention to abolish the solidarity levy, which concerns about 1 million pensioners who have pension incomes of more than €12,000 per year. This will be an additional boost of pensioners’ income”.
Furthermore, Mr. Hatzidakis clarified that “first, by presumption, the low-income pensioners have a smaller personal difference, so they are also the first to see an increase. Secondly, for the low-income pensioners, we gave two extraordinary aids: one last Christmas and one at Easter. Third and in any case, what pensioners should, I believe, keep in mind is that after many years of pension cuts and freezes, we are on a trajectory to increase them! And this can be done by the state, without risk to the public finances, precisely because the economy – despite the ongoing challenges – is doing well under New Democracy. In any case, both the low pensioners and all pensioners remember very well that under the Mitsotakis government, in the last three years, they have only seen increases in pensions, while with the Tsipras government had only seen reductions”.
Regarding the pensioners who, despite the increase, will not be able to zero out the personal difference for a few euros and the possibility of deleting an amount from the personal difference when the pensioner will not have an increase in his pocket for a few euros, the Minister of Labor stated that “there are specific endurance of the economy and the budget. The margins are not inexhaustible and, in fact, have been limited due to the aid given to support the economy and society for the coronavirus, but also, more recently, for electricity, natural gas and the energy crisis. But I am reminded of what we have done for pensioners: With the Vroutsis law we corrected the injustices of the Katrougalos law. Thanks to this effort, 224,000 pensioners, those who had 30 years of insurance and more, saw increases of up to 7% in their pockets. What does this mean? ? That a pensioner with 40 years of insurance who in 2019 was getting a 1,000 euro pension and got a 7% increase with the Vroutsis law, now get is 1,070 euros. That is, almost one extra pension per year! Also due to v. Vroutsis, another 550,000 pensioners “gnawed” their personal difference and are in a better position for future increases. Also: We returned to the pensioners as we were, of course, obliged to, retroactively to the amount of 1.2 billion euros. We increased their income by reducing the tax rate from 22% to 9%. This means that a pensioner who used to pay 22% of his income to the tax authorities, now only pays 9%! The ceiling of 1,300 euros for those receiving main and supplementary pensions came, which translated into an increase in supplementary pensions. We also gave increases to the pensions of working pensioners (the percentage of the pension paid rose from 40% to 70%) and to the national pensions of expatriates, with the regulation that passed the Parliament a few months ago. We are not proud of them, but I think it is clear that what we do for pensioners is not negligible”.
In relation to the latest decisions of the Council of State (1403-7/2022) on retroactive subsidies and gifts, according to which the pensioners who have claimed the unconstitutional cuts with lawsuits until 31/7/2020 are vindicated, Mr. Hatzidakis said that “the government had already positioned itself since 2020 in relation to the payment of retroactive benefits. This decision was appealed to the Council of State, which essentially justified the government. It was the last in a series of decisions by the Court, some of which were positive for the pensioners who waited retroactively and some others not. Now that it has also been received, we will do what we had promised: We will implement the decision of the Justice in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and the EFKA services. This is what we did with all the decisions until today (98% of the pending cases with retroactive cases have been closed) and this is what we will do now as well”.