Generous Policies

Big, Fat Greek Pensions

greek pensions-Reuters
Six in ten Greeks will be over 65 years old by 2060.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Greece has taken some steps to rein in its generous pension policies but much more needs to be done.

  • Facts


    • Greek pensions are based on 80 percent of average pay.
    • Greece has eliminated Christmas and vacation pension bonuses and raised the retirement age to 67.
    • An estimated 60 percent of the country’s population will be over the age of 65 by 2060.
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A few weeks ago, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had a lengthy spat with his Baltic colleagues. In a late-night round of bargaining, he sought to insert the term “humanitarian crisis” into a communiqué. Disgusted, Estonia’s Minister of Finance, Maris Lauri, reminded him that the social standards in her country were much lower than those in Greece, but it still was participating in financing the bailout package for Athens.

As details of the Greek pension system circulate through the so-called “troika” of lenders to Greece, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the numbers are certain to become a source of controversy.

The figures show the standard pension in Greece, after fulfilling all contribution obligations, is 80 percent of the average pay, or about €1,100 ($1,208). In comparison, German pensions are only 48 percent, which, according to the German pension insurance scheme, comes to €1,287 in the western states and €1,187 in the eastern states.

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