April 18. 2024. 12:33

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EU requested pension reform causes Romania headaches

Just a few days after Romanian authorities asserted that the second payment of the national recovery and resilience plan would be granted, the debate over a major milestone in the third payment has already heated up.

Romania has committed to reforming the so-called special service pensions through the recovery plan.

These are pensions granted to certain professional categories such as judges, prosecutors, military, police and secret service employees, some of which are even ten times higher than the average pension in the country.

The trouble with special pensions is that they are not based on the contributory principle and are considered a burden on the state budget.

The PNL-PSD governing coalition promised to make a pension reform to eliminate inequalities, as requested by the European Commission.

In an EU executive letter sent last week to the authorities in Bucharest, EU officials made it clear that the draft prepared by the Romanian government does not solve systemic problems and does not meet the requirements of the European Union.

The European Commission demands real and radical changes, arguing that the reform is not based on the principle of fairness and does not bring substantial savings to the state budget.

“Any difference we have with the general public pension system must be justified and backed up with evidence, otherwise, we risk the milestone not being validated and ending up with partial payment”, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Marcel Bolos said.

In the meantime, Labour Minister Marius Budai has set a deadline until midday on Wednesday for all ministers concerned to submit written amendments.

“This milestone is part of claim number 3, and the deadline for submitting claim number 3 is June. By then, we must have the bill approved and in line”, Minister Bolos noted.

(Oana-Carmen Zamfir | EURACTIV.com)