Ex military staff union says new legislation does not solve any problems.
The government met in special session on Friday evening to pass an emergency ordinance regulating the military pension recalculation process after the previous methodology was suspended by ruling of the High Court. The new emergency ordinance provides that the military pension recalculation process will be extended until the end of the year and that institutions in the defence system will have to send pension houses the exact situation of former military staff incomes by October 31 at the latest.
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, PM Emil Boc and President Traian Basescu, insisted that the recalculation would only lead to higher incomes for most pensioners, especially those with incomes below RON 3,000.
The High Court’s ruling suspending enforcement of the government decision regarding military pension recalculation was welcomed by ex military staff unions, but the cabinet and President Basescu insisted that the recalculation process can continue, since the court suspended only the methodology of calculation. The actual base for the military pension recalculation process is a separate law which remains in force. Military staff staged a major protest in Bucharest and across the country last week, calling on the ministers responsible and on Basescu to resign. Moreover, they filed thousands of court cases against the recalculation process.
In a press statement after passing the new emergency ordinance, PM Boc reiterated that no military pension below RON 3,000 will be cut, in the case of military staff with full service. He also explained that those pensioners who receive smaller pensions before the recalculation process is completed will get their money back in several instalments. As for pensioners who received more money than they should have, they will return the extra amounts to the state, also in instalments, throughout 2012. Boc added that the pension recalculation process, except for military retirement benefits, has brought an extra EUR 50 M to the state budget.
But the new emergency ordinance was already challenged by military unionists, who say it is poorly developed. The vice president of former military staff union SCMD, Valeriu Pricina, told Antena 3 that none of the changes announced by PM Boc solves the problems caused by the recalculation process. Opposition National Liberal Party leader Crin Antonescu criticised the recalculation plans once again, accusing Boc of bearing the blame for the current military pension system chaos. In comments to Antena 3, Antonescu vowed to abrogate the pension recalculation law when Liberals take power.