The special pensions granted to several categories of state employees might be eliminated.
The special pensions benefiting certain categories of state employees mainly from the magistracy and the force structures have become a bone of contention between the main political parties in Romania. Unlike regular pensions, special pensions are not based on the contribution principle, which has sparked and continues to spark heated debates, especially in relation to the often exaggerated amount of some of the special pensions that in certain cases reaches several thousand Euros.
Discussions have also been fueled and intensified by budget constraints, given that the budget deficit has already exceeded the value of 3% accepted by the EU. In this context, the PM and Liberal leader Ludovic Orban has announced that his party has already made the political decision to support a move according to which pensions are calculated based on the contribution principle, except for the public service pensions granted to the military.
Ludovic Orban: “The principle of contribution is the only fair and correct principle according to which a person should receive a pension, namely in accordance with the amount contributed during the employment period, except for the public service pensions granted to the military.”
The PM also added that the Liberals could not agree with the amendment proposed by a Social Democrat MP according to which the elimination of special pensions should also apply to athletes, artists and scientists, as he considers this an excess. It is not yet clear if the magistrates will continue to benefit from special pensions.
The magistrates with the Bucharest Tribunal and the Court of Appeal decided to suspend their activity for an unlimited period of time, staring on Wednesday, as they are discontented with prospect of their special pensions being abrogated. Their example was followed by judges from other courts of appeal across Romania. Judicial inspectors also met in a general assembly to discuss the issue, their conclusion being that the elimination of special pensions is unconstitutional and infringes the principle of the judges’ independence and immovability.
The interim president of the Social Democratic Party Marcel Ciolacu considers that the Liberals’ bill on the elimination of special pensions is unconstitutional and that the Liberals should send it back to the special committees to be altered only after discussions with those affected by this legislative change. He admitted, though that, in some cases, special pensions happen to be higher than the revenues obtained during the employment period, a situation that does not exist anywhere in the world.
In December the MPs with the labor committee passed a favorable report in relation to the bill on eliminating special pensions, except for the public service pensions. The bill will be voted by the plenum of Parliament meeting in an extraordinary session on January 28.