May 27. 2024. 8:25

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Spanish employer’s associations reject ‘historic’ pension reform pact


Spain’s employers’ association CEOE rejected the ‘historic’ pension reform agreement, signed by the government and the country’s main trade unions on Wednesday despite the Commission previously giving its green light.

The formal signature came after the government and the Commission struck a “last minute” agreement on Friday – a move which would pave the way for Madrid to receive the next tranches of the EU’s Next Generation funds.

The reform focuses on ensuring the system’s sustainability with different measures to strengthen income and includes a so-called “solidarity quota” for the social contributions of the highest earners, doubling the so-called intergenerational equity mechanism.

The backbone of the reform is a new “dual computation period regime” established for the next 20 years, which will allow workers to choose between maintaining the 25 years of contributions currently taken into account for calculating the initial pension or counting 29 years with the possibility of disregarding two, leaving a de facto 27 year period.

Speaking at the ceremony, Inclusion and Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá (PSOE/S&D) defended the reform he says represents “a radical structural change to modernise the pension system” without endangering the “productive fabric and the competitiveness of companies”.

The minister also stressed that the reform makes the system “robust”, guaranteeing sustainability, sufficiency and elements of equity, and said that “a great deal of demagogy is being made without numbers on the table” about CEOE’s position.

Meanwhile, Álvarez expressed his “satisfaction” with an agreement of “historic importance” despite expressing regret regarding CEOE’s absence.

“There are no arguments to justify their (CEOE) absence from the signing”, criticised Álvarez, who recalled the European Commission’s support for the reform, which “balances expenditure and income” and guarantees the future of pensions in Spain, he stated.

The leader of CCOO, Unai Sordo, called the agreement “revolutionary” insofar as it introduces “structural” elements that “guarantee the future viability of a sufficient pension system” in Spain.

In an interview aired by state-owned Radio Nacional de España (RNE), Garamendi lamented that his organisation had not been invited to join the discussions with the government and trade unions.

“We have raised things but have not been given any data (by the government). It is very difficult to talk about something without the numbers and the reality is that to date, we do not have the economic report of the reform (…) The minister (Escrivá) is not telling the truth,” said Garamendi.

(Fernando Heller | EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)