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SDKÚ to make another attempt to protect second pension pillar

The opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-Democratic Party (SDKÚ-DS) plans to push parliament to consider a constitutional amendment that would ban any changes to the second pillar in the pension scheme that could be detrimental to savers.

SDKÚ-DS chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda says the law is necessary because he is convinced the changes to the social insurance law the Cabinet approved on August 22 are aimed at repealing the pension reform introduced under his government.

"The Government wants to repeal the reform, so we want to protect it," the former prime minister said.

Party deputy Lucia Žitňanská commented that a constitutional amendment that would come into effect in January would protect the essence of the two-pillar system.

"We want to guarantee that the pension system consists of pension insurance and pension saving," she said.

Dzurinda is using as evidence to support his case the Cabinet's plan that allows savers to pull out of the second pillar and the confrontational statements Prime Minister Robert Fico and Labour Minister Viera Tomanová have been using to fan the flames of uncertainty among savers.

The weakening of the second pillar coupled with the boosting of the state-run pay-as-you-go pillar is very irresponsible, Dzurinda suggested. He insists it is reckless to spend money with only the next parliamentary elections in mind and endanger the retirement savings of decent people.

The amendment to the social insurance law approved by ministers in the Cabinet on August 22 opens the second pillar, which has more than 1.5 million savers in it, from January 1 to June 30 of next year, giving each saver the chance to return to the pay-as-you-go system administered by the state-run Sociálna Poisťovna. In the same period people, anyone who wants to enter the second pillar would have the chance to do so.

Participants of the second pillar of the pension scheme introduced during the previous government are saving for their pensions in their personal accounts in private pension fund management companies. The SDKÚ-DS argues that on entering the system, they were convinced that the rules under which it was established would not change.

The ruling coalition holds 85 seats in the 150-seat parliament. A constitutional amendment requires ninety votes to pass. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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