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Child benefits for a deputy’s daughter

24 March 2014 / 13:03:11  GRReporter
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A violent dispute between SYRIZA deputy Zoe Konstandopoulou and the Greek Sunday edition "Real News" broke out after the newspaper published a document showing that her ​​mother had been illegally receiving child benefits over the past 18 years.
The deputy’s mother, Lina Alexiou, is a journalist and a long-time member of the supervisory council for radio and television. The document presented shows that the social insurance fund of media employees had suspended the payment of child benefits to her as late as November 2013, 18 and 12 years after Zoe Konstandopoulou and her sister Vassiliki-Joanna respectively had come of age.

Late on Sunday afternoon Lina Alexiou replied with a written communication, in which she does not deny having received the benefits, blaming the insurance fund for this. In the text, she states that she and about another 400 journalists "are paying the price for the bureaucratic and bad mode of operation of an outdated administrative mechanism."
According to Alexiou, the publication "Real News" is openly biased. In addition, she accuses its author of failing to get in touch with her to clarify the information and states that she will file a lawsuit in order to "protect journalistic ethics."

Her daughter Zoe Konstandopoulou responded to the publication as well, describing the report as "a low blow." In an open letter, the leftist deputy states that the newspaper presents an issue with which she has no concern in a biased manner, thus misleading its readers.

The newspaper replied that Lina Alexiou had not responded to the point of the publication, urging her to answer specific questions on the case. At the same time, it recommends Zoe Konstandopoulou "to politically mature and advise her mother to return the fund the money she was illegally receiving for so many years."

The topic became the subject of hundreds of comments in the media and on social networks, and event photos appeared, presenting the deputy as a 4-year-old girl in a playground.

According to other commentators, the problem is not so much the amount received by Lina Alexiou, namely 28 euro per month, but the reaction of SYRIZA and its friendly user profiles on the social networks.

"While "Real News" was "feeding up" the positive popularity of SYRIZA everything was fine and, according to the leftists, the fines imposed by the supervisory council for the media "were intended to silence any voice against the memorandum." When the chain reaction has come to Zoe and her mother, the newspaper and his publisher Nikos Hatzinikolaou have joined the group of "those who do not want to pay the unjust fines imposed by the council, they are behaving uncontrollably, throwing mud at people, etc."

The dispute is yet to run high and may continue in the courtroom.

Meanwhile, according to an article in another newspaper, "Eleftheros Typos", those employees of the Greek parliament who retire receive a lump-sum benefit to the amount of over 81,900 euro, despite the 40,000-euro ceiling for the lump-sum benefit upon retirement of civil servants.

Parliament employees, however, are treated as "blessed" again. According to the publication, they will receive 1.8 salaries for every year of service. This means that an employee with 35 years of service will receive at retirement a lump-sum benefit equal to 63 salaries.

It is worth noting that all this is valid after the reduction of the amounts by a decision of parliament speaker Evangelos Meimarakis. Until recently, parliament employees had received a lump-sum benefit equal to 87.5 salaries or to 113,500 euro at least.

Tags: PoliticsZoe KonstandopoulouSYRIZAChild benefitsParliament employeesLump-sum benefit upon retirement
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