Bulgarian President Fulfills Threat to Veto Retirement Reform
Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, imposed Sunday a veto on the retirement reform, which foresees a gradual increase of the retirement age in the country by three months each year until 2014.
Remaining true to earlier promises, Parvanov signed a decree to return the State and Public Social Security Act for 2012 to the Parliament for new debates. The MPs passed the Act on December 8, 2011.
The news was announced by the Presidential press office.
One of the main motives for the veto, cited by the President, is the heated debates and strong public opposition to the changes.
"I fully understand that the Act will be implemented in the conditions of global financial and economic crisis. For this reason, I appealed on numerous occasions to launch large-scale anti-crisis measures to counter the grave effects of the crisis, and I believe that the social price for dealing with it must be undertaken by all social groups in solidarity," Parvanov writes.
According to the President, he had always insisted before the cabinet to clearly define their anti-crisis plan; seek the needed large public support, without which the execution of any reform would be impossible or ineffective.
Parvanov points out that the retirement reform adopted by the Parliament is a single-handed refusal of those in power to fulfill commitments and legally outlined responsibilities, contradicting the established principles of social dialogue.
"This Act not only does not correspond to public expectations, but includes texts that take away and hurt essential social benefits and citizens' rights," the President stresses, outlining as weaknesses of the Act the revocation of the indexation of retirement pensions in 2012; of the so-called "golden Swiss rule," and the increase of retirement age.
Parvanov further explains that the Act had been passed in violation with the established procedure, which could be grounds to declare it anti-Constitutional.
"For all these reasons and arguments for essential social and financial injustice, contradiction with current legislation, and allowing anti-Constitutionality, I am returning for new Parliamentary debates the State and Public Social Security Act for 2012, as I challenge it in principle and in its entirety," the President concludes.
On Saturday, Bulgarian employers' organizations declared full support for the retirement reform, stating that if Bulgaria does not implement a pension reform now, it may have to make far more difficult decisions in the future.
Parvanov undertook the move after talks with the President of the Confederation of Independent Bulgarian Syndicates (KNSB), Plamen Dimitrov, and with Konstantin Trenchev, President of Podkrepa (Support) Labor Confederation.
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