The MPs' special pensions are again in the spotlight in Romania.
A recurrent topic in recent years, the MP's special pensions have yet again become an attention-grabbing issue these days in Romania, where the election campaign is in full swing ahead of the ballot day decided for December 6. Initially, only the magistrates benefitted from the special public service pensions, known as old-age emoluments. Subsequently, other categories lawfully benefitted from special pensions, among which MPs, diplomats or the aeronautic personnel. The special pensions quantum is counted based on an algorithm which is by far more generous than for the rest of the Romanians, so at the level of the society, the special pensions issue is the main bone of contention. According to all sorts of formulas, the recipients cash hefty sums of money paid from the state social insurance budget, that is according to one's own contribution to the system proper, but also from the state budget. Furthermore, special pensions beneficiaries' vesting period is the shortest from among Romania's other professional categories.
The Save Romania Union (USR) MPs, in opposition, have announced their decision to resign from Parliament before their term in office ends in December, so as not to benefit from the lawfully stipulated special pensions, an issue they have challenged all along so far. Prominent members of the main opposition party, The Social Democratic Party, did the same, their leader, Marcel Ciolacu, included. A mere smokescreen, that is what some of the other politicians said about this move.
The politruks of the day are now competing in the uselessly-populist relinquishment of the special pensions according to senator Serban Nicolae, a former member of the Social Democratic Party and a current candidate of the Romanian Ecological Party for the December 6 election. Members of the People's Movement Party have said resigning from the job does not solve the problem. People's Movement Party members have also called on Marcel Ciolacu, who is still the president of the Chamber of Deputies, to include the draft law they have initiated on the day's agenda, a draft law targeting the elimination of the special pensions, which has already been passed by the Senate.
Marcel Ciolacu pledged he would summon the joint permanent Bureaus, in a bid to eliminate the MPs' special pensions, on condition that the resulting sums of money be used for the doubling of children's allowance. The National Liberal Party does not accept this privilege for the MPs, that of the special pensions, being the constant advocate of the contribution-based pensions. The National Liberal Party views the repealing of Article 11 of the Status of senators and deputies as the only solution for the eliminations of MP's special pensions. According to the law, for the incomplete terms in office, the MP's old-age emolument is counted in proportion with the exercise of the term in office proper, but no less than one parliamentarian's term in office. So the parliamentarians exercising their first term in office, should they resign, will not benefit from the special pension, whereas for an MP who has a full term in office already, their resignation will not be effective under the same proportion. The parliamentarians who are in such a situation will benefit from the special pension for their entire term in office and will receive a quantum for their second term in office. The special pension is not granted by default. For the MPs who do not want to benefit from the special pension, all they have to do is avoid claiming it.
(Translation by Eugen Nasta)