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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-11-02

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Karamanlis: Social insurance reform dialogue aims at modern, viable system

  • [01] PM Karamanlis: Social insurance reform dialogue aims at modern, viable system

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday rejected a Communist Party of Greece (KKE) claim that the dialogue the government was commencing on reform of the social insurance system was 'pretextual', saying that the KKE's claim was a "facile excuse for a pre-decided refusal of participation" in the dialogue.

    Responding in parliament, during the Hour of the Prime Minister, to a question tabled by KKE deputy Spyros Halvatzis regarding the workers' social and social insurance rights, Karamanlis also said that every political force that cared about the working people was obliged to participate in the search for solutions, and stressed that his New Democracy (ND) government sought substantive, fruitful and constructive dialogue with all the political forces and the social partners, aimed at a more modern, more just and viable, in the long-term, social insurance system.

    Karamanlis said that the first unity of the dialogue was opening next week "with these goals", clarifying that the "proposals, studies, ascertainments put forward by individuals, agencies or organisations are elements to be taken into consideration, and nothing more...they do not express either the positions, or the intentions, of the government", and adding that "falsifications and distortions are of no benefit".

    Halvatzis, commenting on Karamanlis' criticism of the KKE's refusal to take part in the "pretextual dialogue", said that "no one held a dialogue with Procrustes on how much he would be amputated".

    He also said that the proposal for voluntary continuation of employment after retirement was in reality "coercion-blackmail" because someone who would get a 500 or 600 euro pension "doesn't have any other choice, because he wouldn't be able to make ends meet".

    Replying to Halvatzis, the prime minister said that problems existed, as did distortions and contribution-evasion, "but these are not solved by refusing dialogue".

    "Our duty is to not allow things to reach impasses ever again, to show concern for the future of all the working people, to care for the financially weaker. And this is what we are doing, with actions, not words," Karamanlis said, noting his government's policies for increasing the EKAS low-pension benefit and the OGA (farmers' social insurance/pension fund) pensions as of January 1, 2008, and for introducing a national minimum pension above the poverty level as of 2009.


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