Parliament Passes Pension Reform Bills

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Following a heated debate with high-pitched tones, parliament on Friday passed a set of six pension reform bills.

The bills were adopted without MOST lawmakers being in parliament. “We won’t take part in this shameful trade where former SDP MPs are saving this government, and the key partners MP Milorad Pupovac of the SDSS and Darinko Dumbović (Reformists) are not present,” MOST MP Nikola Grmoja said as MOST MPs walked out of parliament.

The voting continued, without Social Democratic Party MPs voting either. The majority required to adopt the laws was secured by SDP MPs who had defected to the HNS caucus and to Milan Bandić’s Work and Solidarity party – MP Mario Habek, MP Milanka Opačić and MP Zdravko Ronko.

SDP MPs Arsen Bauk and Gordan Maras first called for these three MPs to be moved so that they no longer sit among SDP lawmakers. Move these MPs that “Bandić bought off,” Maras said.

“I am not for sale. I didn’t ask for anything from Ivica Račan, nor from Zoran Milanović, nor from Davor Bernardić. I earned my seat with more than 25,000 votes, which is something you’ll never get,” Opačić retorted.

The reform which enters into force as of 1 January 2019 foresees extending working life to 67 as of 2033, penalising early retirement by 0.3% for each month or 18% for five years, as well as allowing pensioners to continue working part-time for 4 hours a day and retaining their pensions.

Beneficiaries of the Second Pillar pension system will be given the option to choose which pillar to take their pension from.

The reform experienced some changes between the first and second readings in parliament, so the penalty for early retirement was reduced from the originally planned 0.34% to 0.3% as well as adding six months of working life for mothers and adopted mothers for each child, which should increase their pensions by about 2%.

The reform also brings changes to pension funds aimed at providing greater transparency and control.

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