The leaders of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate were called in session on Monday to discuss the special pensions. They decided that the vote in plenary session would take place on Tuesday.
The controversial draft law changing the MPs Statute so that deputies and senators will receive a monthly pay for their parliamentary activity when they retire will be debated on by the Committees of the two Chambers on Tuesday.
According to the new bill, on top of the main retirement benefit, the MPs who served one term in Parliament will cash another 1,600 every month, those with two terms – 3,100 lei and those with 3 terms – even 4,400 lei, according to Antena 3.
According to the legislative initiative tabled in the Chamber of Deputies, 255 MPs support the bill – 23 are from PNL, 181 from PSD, 18 from PC-PLR, 14 from UDMR, 8 from the Democrat-People’s Group, 8 are independent and 3 are representatives of the national minorities other than Hungarian.
According to Gandul, a few of the PNL MPs admitted to the fact that, when requested to support the draft law introducing special pensions, they were shown a comparative table with the retirement benefits cashed by MPs in other countries in Europe. According to the table, Cyprus MPs receive a monthly pay of 6,443 euro and a special pension of 75% of the last pay. In Denmark, the wage of an MP is 6,636 euro and the pension is 3,820 euro. MPs in Austria, Poland and the UK receive a pension strictly according to how much they contributed to the social security system during employment. In Lithuania there is no such special income. Slovakia is also not doing very well in that department, with MPs receiving 4% of the pay for their parliamentary activity, which means approximately 80 euro/month.
PNL does not support measure
After the bill became known to the public, a few of the PNL signers decided to withdraw their signatures.
‘PNL does not support special pensions and the leadership of PNL has made a political decision in that respect. From the information we have obtained by personal discussions with the MPs who signed for the PSD-initiated draft law, most of the PNL MPs have decided to withdraw their signatures because they became aware of the trap they fell into. We are making all efforts to convince all the MPs, also those not from PNL, not to endorse this controversial bill’, PNL spokesman Ionut Stroe told gandul.
The two Chambers’ Statute Committee met three weeks ago in secret session and adopted a favourable report without waiting for the position of the Legal Committees of the Parliament and without holding a public debate, according to Adevarul journalists.
Practically, the draft law introduces at article 73 of Law 7/2006 a new article – 73(1) which notes that civil servants with 30 years subscription period will be entitled to retirement benefit for age limit when they fulfil the standard retirement age under the public pension system. If out of the 30 years, they subscribed in the Parliament structures for 14 years, they will receive a special pension of 80% of the average gross income in the 12 months prior to retirement. If an MP has more than 14 years in Parliament, there is an extra 1% to the retirement benefit for each extra year, according to stiripesurse.ro. The MPs who have subscribed during 30 years and who have served at least 14 years in Parliament, may apply for early retirement, but not before the age of 60.
Draft justified by signers by high degree of responsibility
The Statute Committee approved the draft law and introduced an amendment – the deputies and the senators who were convicted will no longer receive the special pension.
In the Recitals the MPs argue that the special pension will contribute to ‘improving the quality and performance of the Parliament’. They justify the extra retirement benefit in the following manner: ‘given the role of the Parliament, there is a high degree of responsibility in respecting and fulfilling the interest of the citizens, with a ban on deputies and senators from having any other position of public authority or commercial activity incompatible with the status of an MPs’. ‘The interdiction and incompatibilities imposed on MPs, similar to those of the magistrates, make it impossible to supplement public socials security contributions during the term, therefore the payment of the indemnity for age limit is also required as a compensation.
PM Victor Ponta said he did not support the new bill and, according to the agreement with the IMF, the Government would give a negative opinion. ‘However, an uncertain point of view has reached the MPs: the Government can sustain it, but all additional expenditures could only be approved by indicating the source of financing’, according to Digi24 who warn that, if the draft law is adopted, it would mean an extra burden of RON 240,000 per month on the state budget.
Labour Minister Rovana Plumb said the Government did not support the new pension scheme and that she, as an MP, would vote against it. Plumb says the adoption of the pension has not the support of the Government because the budget impact has not been calculated and, if the law is adopted, the budget will be put in difficulty.