Greek Labor Minister Claims to Empathize with Public Reaction to His Social Security Reform Plan



katrougalosGreek Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos appeared sympathetic to public criticism of a social security reform proposal he recently authored.

During an interview with Kathimerini newspaper on Sunday, the Labor Minister discussed the 170 page proposal he crafted. The plan includes unifying pension funds and decreasing future pensions payments.

When told by the newspaper that people’s reaction so far has been to protest, Katrougalos noted that the demands people are making, like redistribution and higher pensions, are things he believes in as well.

“It’s what I am also trying to negotiate with the institutions. However, at the same time I am trying to balance, between the need for the pension system to have these things and harnessing the existing deficits. And our main difference with the previous (governments) is that my reform is redistributive and socially biased in favor of those ‘below,'” he said.

International creditors will soon officially decide whether the proposed reform is good enough. A reform in the social security system is part of the review of the Greek bailout, expected to begin mid-January. Successfully completing that review would allow for additional funding to Greece as well as initiating discussions for debt relief.