The Slovenia Times

National Assembly Passes Pension Reform


All parties underlined in the debate that a pension reform was desperately needed. The first attempt at the reform failed a year and a half ago as the proposal adopted by the previous ruling coalition was defeated in a referendum.

The reform has enjoyed bipartisan backing throughout parliamentary passage and today, opposition parties praised Labour, Family and Social Affairs Minister Andrej Vizjak for taking into account their proposals.

At second reading over 100 amendments were incorporated into the government's proposal based on agreement reached in negotiations between the government, trade unions and employers. Additional 20 amendments have been endorsed today.

However, the KSJS confederation of trade unions representing some 161,000 public sector employees said today they would not sign the agreement on the reform reached in talks with social partners.

Opposition Social Democrats (SD) deputy Andreja Črnak Meglič said that the party endorsed the reform because the government crossed out provisions under which payments not stemming from social contributions would have been removed.

Opposition Positive Slovenia's (PS) Barbara Žgajner Tavš said that "the minister acted wisely and listened to serious warnings from the opposition".

Coalition Democrats (SDS), the People's Party (SLS), New Slovenia (NSi) and the Citizens' List (DL) pointed to the advantages of the reform bill.

The DL's Truda Pepelnik underlined above all transparency of pension calculations, while the Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) highlighted that pensions would be adjusted to pay in 2013. However, this adjustment must not exceed EUR 50m, said Jana Jenko.

The SLS said that the pension reform could help Slovenia break out of the crisis. "Every year, conditions worsen also for the future pensioners, because the pension base is cut annually," said Mihael Prevc.

Matej Tonin of the NSi said that anybody who would attempt to reject the reform in a referendum or otherwise would be fighting for lower pensions and unsustainable public finance.

Romana Tomc of the SDS pointed out that the rise in pensionable age would not happen due to strict regulation but due to incentives promoting that people work longer.

"Above all it is important that it no longer misleads people with false expectations regarding the height of their pensions," said Tomc.

Minister Vizjak denied in his address to the National Assembly claims that the reform could not hold for long. "In 2060 we will have to spend around EUR 1bn less on pensions than if there were no reform.


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