Officials Argue Over Sustainability of Pensions
In remarks to the media today, the Reform Party's minister of social affairs, Taavi Rõivas, clashed with MP Priit Sibul of coalition partner IRL over plans to raise pensions.
As set in the recently confirmed budget bill, pensions will rise next year by 5.8 percent on average, which means pensioners will generally get about 20 euros more per month. The last rise, by 5 percent, took effect last April.
"Sibul's opposition towards the pension raises is indefensible. It's not appropriate for anyone in their thirties to have this attitude about his parents' generation. I sincerely hope that such sentiments don't become dominant in IRL," Rõivas told uudised.err.ee.
Rõivas said rising salaries and decreasing unemployment have improved receipts from the social tax, helping to raise pensions.
"It is an iron rule that the better the Estonian economy is doing, the quicker we can raise salaries and pensions, and such a relation is certainly sustainable," Rõivas said.
Sibul had said that the pension system is not sustainable and that people shouldn't come to expect rises every year.
"The news about a 5.8 percent rise in pensions is saddening and it will be even worse if local governments pledge to add to it. Looking a little further into the future, sustaining the existing pension system is a nearly impossible mission. By no means do I think that pensions are large," Sibul wrote on his Facebook page.
He explained further to uudised.err.ee: "I'm concerned that this news will give people the impression that [raising pensions] is a permanent thing. That pensions will continue to rise all the time and constantly. I don't believe that is possible," Sibul said.
"I think it is the right time to talk about long-term solutions - what a person at my age should be thinking about to secure his future," Sibul said.