Opposition Sees Red Flags in Retirement Caps, Coalition Wants to Help People

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Slovak Parliament (stock photo by TASR)

Bratislava, March 28 (TASR) – Lawmakers are diverging in their views regarding the retirement age caps at 64, as the constitutional amendment was passed in Parliament with the votes of Smer-SD, Slovak National Party (SNS), We Are Family, People’s Party Our Slovakia (LSNS) and five independents on Thursday.

On the contrary, a portion of the opposition voted against the motion, with the preponderance of junior coalition Most-Hid party abstaining from the vote. Only three Most-Hid MPs lent their support to the bill.

A number of opposition parties, including full caucuses of Ordinary People (OLaNO) and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), harbour the conviction that the retirement age caps will be detrimental to pensioners in the long run. “I’ve been saying consistently that this bill fails to address current problems. This is because (Smer-SD chair) Robert Fico is incapable of addressing the problems that hard-working people face today and so he addresses problems that Slovakia might encounter 30 years down the road, but maybe won’t ever, as the retirement age is linked to the length of lifetime,” said OLaNO MP Veronika Remisova.

According to SaS, the retirement caps are pernicious for future generations. “Not only submitters of the bill are aware of this, all lawmakers who voted for the bill know this,” pointed out SaS MP Jana Kissova. “This is populism in its truest form, when politicians, disturbed by their drop in the polls, are creating problems for our children and their children. This measure goes against the people; it is bad.”

The preponderance of Most-Hid lawmakers abstained from the vote, with only Elemer Jakab, Peter Voros and Ladislav Balodi supporting the motion. “I didn’t plan to support it and there are reasons. Most-Hid is convinced that we’re addressing something that is not current. It doesn’t have to be addressed today. We need to crunch numbers first. We don’t know what’s going to happen 20 years in the future,” stated MP Iren Sarkozy.

The opposition We Are Family party voted for the Smer-SD-sponsored bill, as it accommodated their request to lower the retirement age for women who raised children. “Slovakia has what it takes to handle such legislation. Our condition was that women must retire earlier, based on their number of born children. Our terms were met and we’ve been saying for the whole time that we’re for the introduction of retirement age (caps) because due to the way the current system is set, many would retire in their seventies. We think that this is not dignified for people, who have toiled at work all of their lives,” thinks MP Peter Pcolinsky.

The bill also received support from all SNS lawmakers. “The glorification of a well-balanced state budget is not always good. If Slovakia fares well, and it does, I’m convinced that people should get to feel it, too. And who more than the pensioners? The quality of life for retired people will go up. It’s different when a person in relatively good health retires and when someone worn out by work does,” claimed SNS MP Eva Antosova.