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November 27, 2020

Tanasescu: IMF doesn’t tell cabinet how to recalculate pensions

Romania’s representative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Mihai Tanasescu told RFI on Tuesday that the Fund does not tell the Romanian government how to recalculate pensions or what exact measures to take, as it only sets some targets that have to be met.

“The IMF doesn’t go into details like that, it’s not the one saying what the parental leave should be like and how a pensions must be calculated or recalculated. We set some targets, some principles and their implementation is in authorities’ hands,” he said.

Tanasescu underlined that the main problem about the military pension recalculation is whether it is actually necessary, if “it has any important effects and of course, looking at things from a wider perspective, what the long-term solution would be.” Tanasescu also welcomed the government’s decision to extend the deadline for recalculation until the end of the year, saying that this extension can help clarify the method of calculation.

The decision to extend the recalculation deadline was first announced by President Traian Basescu and then made officially by the ruling coalition’s session on Monday, following a High Court ruling that suspended the recalculation of military pensions. The government and president insisted that the pension recalculation can continue, since the court suspended a cabinet decision which contained only methodology of calculation. The actual base for the military pension recalculation process is a separate law which remains in force.

After deciding to extend the deadline until the end of the year, PM Emil Boc had a meeting with Labour Minister Ioan Botis, Finance Minister Gheorghe Ialomitianu and Interior Minister Traian Igas, to discuss the possibility of issuing a new cabinet decision that would contain technical details for the recalculation law’s implementation.

The scandal surrounding military pensions began after dozens of former army staff revealed that their retirement benefits were drastically reduced this month as part of the recalculation process. The authorities, including Defence Minister Gabriel Oprea and president Basescu, insisted that the recalculation would only lead to higher incomes for most pensioners, especially those with incomes below RON 3,000. On Monday, thousands of ex army staff and reservists protested in Bucharest and across the country, calling on the ministers responsible and on Basescu to resign. A smaller protest, gathering about 250 military pensioners, was held in Bistrita yesterday.

The problem of special pensions (retirement benefits granted to special categories who are not required to contribute to the public pension fund during their active years) seems ever more important now, given the fact Romania’s number of retirees has significantly increased, compared to the number of employed people, according to an analysis published by daily ‘Ziarul Financiar.’ The newspaper said that while in 1990, there were 8.1 million working people and 3.6 million pensioners, the situation is the exact opposite now: 5.5 million pensioners and 4.3 million employees.


Meanwhile, opposition Liberal Deputy Diana Tusa yesterday filed a criminal complaint with the High Court Prosecutor’s Office against PM Boc and Defence Minister Oprea. The MP accuses the two of willingly presenting Parliament with inexact data about military pensions.

Another Liberal, Deputy Mihaita Calimente, returned a medal and diploma to the Defence Ministry, in sign of solidarity with ex military staff whose pensions were cut, Mediafax reported. “I believe the Romanian Army’s honour was trampled upon and I can no longer benefit from these insignia” Calimente told a press conference in Arad yesterday.

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