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.