Wednesday, January 20, 2016

All You Ever Wanted To Know About Greek Pensions!

Below are links to 3 publications about the Greek Pension System (past, present, future) by Prof. Platon Tinios, which I have found extremely informative:

"A quick guide to one more Greek Pension Reform"
"Briefing Note on Greek Pension Reform"
"Technical clarification of Greek Pension Reform"

Prof. Tinios' previous claim to fame was that he was a major contributor to the Spraos Report of 1997. That Report urged dramatically the need for a major reform of the Greek Pension System in order to prevent its near-term collapse. That sort of alleged scaremongering prompted the Head of the Greek Trade Union Confederation to prophetically state that "the Spraos Report suggests that the Greek Pension System will collapse by 2010. Well, before the Greek Pension System collapses, the Greek State will collapse". And that was the end of the Spraos Report. There is an entire chapter about this episode of Greek politics in Yannis Palaiologos' book "The 13th labour of Hercules".

I was surprised by Prof. Tinios' presentation. I had not been aware of the mess previous governments had made since 2010 by implementing only partial reforms in piece-meal efforts. This, of course, out of fear of the electorate. But what surprised me even more is that, according to Prof. Tinios, the reform which SYRIZA is now proposing, at least on paper, sounds much more plausible as an overall reform than the piece-meal efforts of previous governments. In fact, what SYRIZA is proposing now makes a lot of sense in the context of where the Greek Pension System has been, where it is now and where it should be in the future.

There are two caveats to be made. First, no financial projections as to the impact of the SYRIZA proposal are available as yet. And, secondly, all financial projections become meaningless if the Greek contributors, in protest against benefit reductions, find ways to avoid making their contributions.

In short, SYRIZA's proposal is definitely not a proposal which should be thrown out of the window simply because it comes from a left-wing government. In fact, I cannot recognize significant left-wing elements in the content of their proposal (even though there are some in the propaganda for it).


  1. Thank You Mr. Kastner,

    Quite confusing but your file links help out. The majority of people want a fair system regardless of what is being mentioned in the media.

    One pension system and not numerous. One pension and not many from different pension systems. Pension based on how much has been contributed and for how many years.


  2. Haven't posted here since last year, but I would like to propose to you to watch the movie "Words Apart (Enas allos kosmos)" by Papakaliatis.
    That German guy falling in love in Greece for some reason made me think of you.

  3. Firstly, I believe Tinios' partner is Antigone Lyberaki who is the cousin of Kyriakos Mitsotakis and he is advising him on pension reform.
    Secondly, you cannot really look at the Greek pension problem without reviewing public sector pensions, especially those connected to state owned enterprises.

    1. Perhaps I am wrong but the way I understood Tinios' analysis is that, in the present proposal, there would only be ONE pension system for ALL retirees in the future (public sector included). Now if that is indeed the case, I would consider it revolutionary, not only by Greek standards (public servants have pension privileges virtually everywhere).

  4. Antigone Lyberaki's Partner? 59 years old? Assistant Professor?
    Not so genius (talented)...