Government pledges €600 million cut in pensions – but doesn’t say how

Providing more grist to the opposition’s mill in this key election year, the government has announced that it will be reforming the nation’s pension system to the tune of €600 million if it wins a second mandate this autumn.

It is one of the reforms approved by the Council of Ministers yesterday, which is headed for presentation in Brussels.

But, says Finance Minister Maria Luís Albuquerque, it would be best prepared after dialogue with the Socialist party (PS).

The only party with any capability of overthrowing the PSD/CDS coalition, the PS has reacted by pronouncing itself “totally unavailable for agreement with the government” – saying such a massive pensions cut would represent “a deepening of austerity”.

As national media points out, the government has not even explained how it means to shed so many millions.

One line of thought is that it could be fixing new limits for young people entering the labour market, and creating a “maximum ceiling” whereby pensions will have to be pegged in future.

Albuquerque told the meeting yesterday that the public pension system as it exists right now has “a problem with sustainability”.

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