Greece’s Minister of Labor, Social Security and Social Solidarity Effie Achtsioglou said her government has met the demands by pensioner groups and has agreed to have debts towards social security funds spread across 120 payment instalments and to have widows' and widowers' pensions raised from the current 50% of the deceased's wage to 70%.
Achtsioglou made the announcement on Saturday following her meeting with representatives of pensioners' unions and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, calling the meeting as "extremely constructive”.
Achtsioglou added that all such debts on record until the end of 2018 will be settled immediately as agreed, the lowest installment being 50 euros, and she pointed out that when SYRIZA came to government in January 2015, the insurance funds deficit had reached 1,1 billion euros, with 400,000 suspended pension applications.
"Four years later,' Achtsioglou underlined, "we have a national insurance fund which has been running in surplus for three consecutive years."
The minister also stressed that pensioners acknowledged the efforts made by the government to improve on the policy of pension cuts, adding that 70% of current pending applications have been processed successfully while pension increases have been given to some 620,000 pensioners.
Regarding additional benefits and Easter bonus pensions, the minister said these will be considered for inclusion into the 2020 State Budget, while the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras assured the President of the Greek Federation of IKA Pensioners, Demos Koumpouris, that the matter of widower's pensions will be settled with a specific legislative amendment.
Tsipras also said that as of 2020, the government will look into the likelihood of paying out pensioners' extra benefits and holiday bonuses on a permanent basis.