“Greece: Prior Actions
Policy Commitments and Actions to be taken in consultation with EC/ECB/IMF staff:
1. 2015 supplementary budget and 2016-19 MTFS
Adopt effective as of July 1, 2015 a supplementary 2015 budget and a 2016–19 medium-term fiscal strategy, supported by a sizable and credible package of measures….
2. VAT reform
Adopt legislation to reform the VAT system that will be effective as of July 1, 2015. The reform will target a net revenue gain of 1 percent of GDP on an annual basis from parametric changes…
4. Pension reform
The Authorities recognise that the pension system is unsustainable and needs fundamental reforms. This is why they will implement in full the 2010 pension reform law (3863/2010), and implement in full or replace/adjust the sustainability factors for supplementary and lump-sum pensions from the 2012 reform as a part of the new pension reform in October 2015 to achieve equivalent savings and take further steps to improve the pension system.
Effective from July 1, 2015 the authorities will phase-in reforms that would deliver estimated permanent savings of ¼-½ percent of GDP in 2015 and 1 percent of GDP on a full year basis in 2016 and thereafter by adopting legislation to:
· create strong disincentives to early retirement, including the adjustment of early retirement penalties, and through a gradual elimination of grandfathering to statutory retirement age and early retirement pathways progressively adapting to the limit of statutory retirement age of 67 years, or 62 and 40 years of contributions by 2022, applicable for all those retiring (except arduous professions, and mothers with children with disability) with immediate application;
· adopt legislation so that withdrawals from the Social Insurance Fund will incur an annual penalty, for those affected by the extension of the retirement age period, equivalent to 10 percent on top of the current penalty of 6 percent;
· integrate into ETEA all supplementary pension funds and ensure that, starting January 1, 2015, all supplementary pension funds are only financed by own contributions;
· better target social pensions by increasing OGA uninsured pension;
· Gradually phase out the solidarity grant (EKAS) for all pensioners by end-December 2019. This shall be legislated immediately and shall start as regards the top 20% of beneficiaries in March 2016 with the modalities of the phase out to be agreed with the institutions;
· freeze monthly guaranteed contributory pension limits in nominal terms until 2021;
· provide to people retiring after 30 June 2015 the basic, guaranteed contributory, and means tested pensions only at the attainment of the statutory normal retirement age of currently 67 years;
· increase the health contributions for pensioners from 4% to 6% on average and extend it to supplementary pensions;
· phase out all state-financed exemptions and harmonize contribution rules for all pension funds with the structure of contributions to IKA from 1 July 2015;
Moreover, in order to restore the sustainability of the pension system, the authorities will by 31 October 2015, legislate further reforms to take effect from 1 January 2016; (i) specific design and parametric improvements to establish a closer link between contributions and benefits; (ii) broaden and modernize the contribution and pension base for all self-employed, including by switching from notional to actual income, subject to minimum required contribution rules; (iii) revise and rationalize all different systems of basic, guaranteed contributory and means tested pension components, taking into account incentives to work and contribute; (iv) the main elements of a comprehensive SSFs consolidation, including any remaining harmonization of contribution and benefit payment rules and procedures across all funds; (v) abolish all nuisance charges financing pensions and offset by reducing benefits or increasing contributions in specific funds to take effect from 31 October 2015; and (vi) harmonize pension benefit rules of the agricultural fund (OGA) with the rest of the pension system in a pro rata manner, unless OGA is merged into other funds. The consolidation of social insurance funds will take place by end 2017. In 2015, the process will be activated through legislation to consolidate the social insurance funds under a single entity and the operational consolidation will have been completed by 31 December 2016. Further reductions in the operating costs and a more effective management of fund resources including improved balancing of needs between better-off and poorer-off funds will be actively encouraged.
The authorities will adopt legislation to fully offset the fiscal effects of the implementation of court rulings on the 2012 pension reform.
In parallel to the reform of the pension system, a Social Welfare Review will be carried out to ensure fairness of the various reforms.
The institutions are prepared to take into account other parametric measures within the pension system of equivalent effect to replace some of the measures mentioned above, taking into account their impact on growth, and provided that such measures are presented to the institutions during the design phase and are sufficiently concrete and quantifiable, and in the absence of this the default option is what is specified above.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at ANA-MPA: The Greek government’s full proposal to the Eurogroup.