Major pension reforms unveiled
The government on Tuesday unveiled a package of changes to the country's pension system aimed at ensuring the system's viability in the coming decades.
In presenting the measures, Labour & Social Insurances Minister Andreas Loverdos said the plan focuses on four major changes: ending voluntary and early retirement schemes with an aim to raise the average retirement age by two years, i.e. to 63 by 2015; permanently separating pension and healthcare systems; establishing an agency to manage pension funds' reserves and assets, as well as changing the method of calculating monthly pension payments.
Minister Andreas Loverdos told reporters after a ministry meeting that, "We are changing the pensions system in order to keep it alive."
Loverdos also said pension funds' reserves now total 29.55 billion euros.
Additionally, he said the government aims to further integrate social insurance agencies into three groups, while healthcare services will be gradually included in the country's National Health System.
The pension reform is part of a cost-cutting plan by the Papandreou government which is struggling to slash Greece's budget deficit.
Loverdos is trying to save 4.5 billion euros (six billion euros) this year from a social welfare budget burdened by years of mismanaged spending by social funds on medicine and hospital bills.
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