The opposition parties the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ), Most-Híd and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) will support all forms of protest against changes planned by the government of Robert Fico (Smer) to the second pension pillar, it was announced on Wednesday, June 6.
The changes include cuts in deductions sent to personal pension saving accounts – the so-called capitalisation pillar – from 9 percent to 3 or 4 percent. According to the opposition, such a move will mean a massive reduction in future pensions, as 70 percent of working people will be deprived of some €600 million.
"If what the prime minister says now – but didn't say before the election – becomes reality then pensions for the young and middle generations in the future will be of a questionable amount," former labour minister Jozef Mihál (SaS) said at a press conference on Wednesday. The opposition parties, which stand united on the issue, consider the changes to be damaging to people's property and are calling on Slovaks to speak their mind and take a stand.
"First and foremost, we'll actively support the petition aimed at collecting the signatures of citizens who want to maintain the current deduction rate of 9 percent," claimed Ľudovít Kaník (SDKÚ), who is regarded as the architect of the second pillar, at the conference, as quoted by the TASR newswire. He added that the opposition parties have agreed to set up a committee to co-ordinate activities designed to protect the second pension pillar and, to that end, individual parties would also put to use their party structures, websites and all communication channels.
"On behalf of Most-Híd, I can say that we will closely monitor all activities of the government that would worsen the conditions in the second pillar," added Most-Híd vice-chair Ivan Švejna.
The Sme daily wrote in its Thursday issue that all the opposition parties were to have met to discuss the second pension pillar, but that representatives of the two largest caucuses, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) and Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) did not attend. KDH vice-chairman Július Brocka argued that the SDKÚ, which organised the meeting, did not agree a date with them. Kaník explained the absence of OĽaNO by referring to differing attitudes over the topic in their caucus. OĽaNO leader Igor Matovič said, as quoted by Sme, that they would join the talks only if the parties show they are able to cooperate.
Sources: TASR, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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