Greek Court Finds New Pension Cuts Unconstitutional

Photo: TNH File

ATHENS – Greece’s deal with international lenders to get release of more monies from a delayed third bailout of 86 billion euros ($93.68 billion) hit a roadblock when a Greek court ruled pension cuts that are part of it are unconstitutional.

Sources told the newspaper Kathimerini that The Plenary of the State Audit Council found the cuts to main and supplementary pensions go against the European Convention of Human Rights.

The council also reportedly decided that the fiscal bill containing the cuts, to be implemented from 2019, contravenes Greek legislation as it has been tabled to the audit council without an actuarial study.

A bill, outlining the pension cuts and other measures agreed with creditors is due to go to a vote in Parliament next week.

It wasn’t clear whether Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who reneged on anti-austerity vows and promises to restore pensions but has continually cut them, would ignore the court as has happened in Greece previously when political leaders didn’t like a decision, including other court rulings against previous pension cuts.

Greece’s coalition government, which includes the pro-austerity, far-right, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL), came to power in January, 2015 on the back of pledges to also reverse pay cuts, tax hikes and privatizations but would up doing the opposite under pressure from the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM)