Athens, January 8, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The Greek government is expressing its satisfaction for the position of the employers’ organizations on the financing of the pension system, according to an announcement by the Prime Minister’s Press office, after meeting of Tsipras Alexis with the presidents of GSEBEE George Kavvatha, the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises Andreas Andreadis, the BSE Theodore Fessas and ESEE Vassilios Korkidis.
The meeting, according to the statement, took place in a very positive and constructive atmosphere, with representatives of employers’ organisations responding positively to the government’s proposal for funding the pension system through a reasonable increase in social security contributions.
Thus, the announcement states, the sustainability of social security system in ensured without new horizontal cuts in pensions.
In light of the developments, the government notes that the constructive consent of the social partners strengthens the negotiating position of the country, while at the same time lays the foundation for economic and productive reconstruction of the country, with social solidarity and protection for the weakest.
The Employer’s Associations
The social partners are not opposing a small, temporary increase in contributions. This is highlighted by the presidents of the four employers’ associations of the country in a joint statement after the meeting they had with the Prime Minister.
The declaration reads as follows:
“The presidents had an extensive conversation with the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, designed to enhance the competitiveness of Greek businesses in conjunction with the support of employment and social cohesion.
In this context, it was decided to have a close cooperation between the Government and the social partners for the implementation of direct measures for the stabilisation of the economy and the attraction of investments for development, with the following priorities:
1) Stable and gradually attractive tax framework
2) friendly business environment
3) Incentives for development and investments
Under these circumstances, and taking into account the proposals to be submitted for minor improvements of the government’s proposal for the reform of the social security system, the social partners do not oppose a small, temporary increase in contributions”.
The government’s proposal for social security is final, said the government spokeswoman, Olga Gerovasili, in an interview with the radio station “Parapolitika 90.1”, while leaving open the possibility of “a small change on the issue of contributions of the self-employed”. She added that the social security system is combined with what one pays to the tax office.
We have a social responsibility to ensure the pension system’s sustainability and we owe it to future generations, Alexis Tsipras said, welcoming to the Maximos representatives of employers’ organisations.
“We have a responsibility, both the government and the institutions of the production activity of the country, to find the best options that will ensure the sustainability of the pension system and I think this is something that we owe to future generations”, he said.
The PM added that we are one step ahead of important decisions that will lead to the opening of the debate on the public debt, in the direction towards the exit from the crisis.
The meeting, which included the Minister of Labour Giorgos Katrougalos, is part of the initiatives undertaken by Maximos Mansion for the promotion of a reform that will make the social security system viable without repeating horizontal cuts in pensions.
While the meeting was underway, with a statement was posted on twitter, the government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said that the agreement of the social partners to moderate increase in employer contributions a powerful bargaining tool, in order not to reduce pensions.
Earlier, she reiterated the invitation to the opposition parties to contribute to a constructive dialogue in shaping the final version of the social security reform and to strengthen the country’s negotiating position.
Initiatives will occur by the government and abroad, with meetings of the Minister of Labour Giannis Katrougalos with his peers, and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos in european capitals.
At the peak of the negotiating effort of the government is also to complete the evaluation in order to start the discussion on the public debt. This effort will be led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is expected to have contacts at the highest level.
Of major importance are also the visits scheduled by the Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos to Moscow, Berlin and Frankfurt.