Less than two weeks before the special parliamentary elections and wonders in Greece are endless. The Ministry of Employment and Social Security has again revealеd a fraud with 200 thousand fake pensions. Suspension of their payment will from now on save the country about 800 million euro per year, the Ministry announced. It is not yet clear how long the money from the pension and social security funds was drained.
The money was drained in several ways. In the first case, people who do not suit the requirements received pensions. In other cases, pensions were paid to "dead souls" – deceased people to which the state continues to pay pensions or social security and fictitious names that do not correspond to a real person but are in the lists of social benefits. Greek authorities are calling into question pensions granted to third country nationals (Bulgarians and Albanians) who paid contributions in the country for less than a year, but receive pensions.
The present Minister of Employment and Social Security George Koutroumanis, who should hand over his post to the new government in two weeks, said that pension funds are in a very poor condition. The recession has been devastating to social funds as well as to the economy in general and reduced pension funds revenues by approximately six billion euro. Immediately after the elections, the government should pay about 1.5 billion euro to drug suppliers to be able to supply the drugs included in the lists of "free" medicines for pensioners. Koutroumanis warned that the Ministry should continue with its activities from the first day after the election, as the issues of social security funds should not be delayed.
"The country must have a government. We cannot afford the luxury of waiting a whole month," said the Minister in relation to the possibility of a second round of elections in the absence of a majority to form its own government. "The country cannot withstand even a day of delay. If we stop acting even for a month, we will not only find ourselves in a very difficult situation, but it could have tragic consequences for all," said Koutroumanis. Meanwhile, deficits in social security and pension funds promise a further reduction in pensions in Greece, which has been postponed to May this year. The Minister explained that the inevitable has been delayed because the government wants first to see the results of the measures implemented two months ago and then, it will start the second wave of cuts. According to journalists in the country, the real reason, however, is that during the pre-election period, nobody is willing to additionally cut pensions as specified in the memorandum of financial assistance.