Abolition of EKAS and other social allowances in revised MoU

Greek government forced to push a series of new harsh measures through parliament

The revised fiscal adjustment program (MoU) approved by the EuroWorking Group includes a package of new harsh measures, according to sources. The new document, which will be the basis for a staff level agreement and form the starting point for discussions during the December 5 EuroGroup meeting, includes new cuts in the social solidarity benefit for pensioners (EKAS) and the heating benefit, among other things. With the effective agreement on the implementation of these policies, the Greek parliament will be forced to legislate on a series of new harsh measures, shifting its focus from the open labour issues, the GDP surplus and the debt relief until some kind of convergence is reached between the sides on the latter. The revised MoU is reported to include:

-A cut in EKAS of up to 40% from January 1, 2017, before the benefit is completely scrapped in 2018, while a Ministerial decision issued immediately will see a 430 million-euro cut in spending for 2017.

-The abolition or reduction of the heating benefit in the 2018 budget. Only 105 million euros will be earmarked for the 2018 budget, compared to 210 million in 2014.

-The abolition or a 50% limit on medical-related tax deductions.

-The abolition of the 1.5% monthly discount on tax retention for employed and pensioners.

-The abolition of the special tax status for seafarers.

-The abolition of child allowances,

-And the abolition of students’ house allowance.