Romania’s Parliament debates whether to scrap disputed ‘special pensions’

Inquam Photos / Ilona Andrei

Romania’s ruling Liberal Party says it wants to scrap some so-called “special pensions,”  monthly payments made to retirees that are not based on contributions paid into the social security system.

The pensions, which can reach many thousands of euros a month, are a contentious issue in Romania. Critics say they are unfair, discriminatory and cost the state too much.

The pensions which are paid from the state budget cost more than 9 billion euros (in excess of 4% of the gross domestic product) a year, deputy Prime Minister Raluca Turcan was quoted as saying.

During a parliament debate on the issue on Tuesday, Liberal lawmaker Cristian Buican said: “We should not have different categories of pensioners in this country. My initiative is to eliminate all these pensions except for those that worked in the military.“

Turcan, also said the Liberal minority government would allow exceptions for former employees of the interior ministry and intelligence agencies and magistrates. The party says it will grant the exception to magistrates in line with a ruling made by the Constitutional Court ruling.

In June 2019, there were 187,480 retirees received inflated pensions out of which 178,168 came from the military sector_  interior ministry and intelligence officers. Of the 9,300 non-military pensions, 3,800 were retired prosecutors or judges.

Romania has about 5 million retirees and the average monthly pension is 1,220 lei (about 255 euros).

The opposition Social Democrats have proposed a bill under which the pensions would be subject to progressive taxation.


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