Pavel and Nerudova Discuss Possible Cooperation On Pension Reform Plans

Nerudova said she could become an external expert communicating ad hoc with the president. Photo credit: Danuse Nerudova, via Facebook.

Prague, March 31 (CTK) – Czech President Petr Pavel expressed interest in consultations on pension reform and tax policy with economist Danuse Nerudova during their meeting today, Nerudova told journalists following the meeting. 

Nerudova ran against Pavel in the presidential election in January, finishing third, and endorsed him for the second round against former PM Andrej Babis.

She said that according to their discussions, she would be an external expert communicating ad hoc with the president. They also talked about issues related to young people, she said.

Nerudova, a former chair of the commission for fair pensions, said Pavel expressed interest in consulting with her about issues related to pension reforms, on which she would be glad to provide an opinion.

Nerudova and Pavel also agreed on potential further cooperation in areas important to younger people. They will hold another meeting on this matter in late May.

Nerudova said that the debate on pension reforms needs to be handled very sensitively, and that consensus across the entire political spectrum was necessary. She said this was one of the last chances to make changes so that the generation which will retire around 2050 will have a secure pension.

The pension system is currently in deficit. Based on the already passed and signed budget, this year’s expenditure on pensions will exceed revenues from the insurance system by CZK 62.5 billion. However, this does not take into account the proposed June extraordinary indexation, which is supposed to reduce pressure on the government budget, and will reduce costs by CZK 19 billion.

Experts say that the current system is unsustainable. When people born in the 1970s retire, pension expenditures will rise significantly, as a lot of children were born in the 1970s. Simultaneously, the number of people of working age who are contributing to the pension system will decrease.

At the same press conference, Nerudova did not rule out becoming a candidate for the European Parliament elections next year, though she had not yet decided which party she might run for.

“This topic is essentially intertwined with the young generation. The young generation wants the euro and understands that we should be part of the European Union, which is important for us. They also understand other benefits than the financial ones. So for this reason, I am not ruling out standing in the European elections,” she noted.

She also said she had met representatives from “more or less all political parties” to discuss her possible next steps.

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