Constitutional Court in Brno – illustrative photo.
Prague – The disputed shortening of the extraordinary increase in pensions was published in the Collection of Laws. The average monthly pension will thus increase from June by 760 crowns instead of the expected 1,770 crowns, as would be the case under normal legal rules. The government's pension amendment became valid and effective today. It can therefore be challenged at the Constitutional Court. The initiative is being prepared by the opposition movement ANO, whose representatives are convinced of the retroactive validity of the law and do not like the way its parliamentary approval was abbreviated in a state of legislative emergency. The Cabinet justified the procedure by the threat of significant economic damage.
According to the government, the reduction in valuation is necessary to stabilize public finances, the state will save 19.4 billion crowns this year alone. The opposition, on the other hand, talks about impoverishment or robbing pensioners, who will lose around 7,000 crowns on average this year alone.
Opposition politicians claim that pensioners were already entitled to standard valuation according to generally applicable rules at the end of January, taking into account the rate of price growth in the first month of this year. The Cabinet does not agree with such an interpretation of the law. According to him, the claim arises only after the issuance of the relevant government regulation, and it is therefore not possible to point out even a violation of the legitimate expectations of pensioners. The deadline for issuing the ordinance is Wednesday, March 22. Until then, the amendment had to be published in the collection in order to be applicable.
In the case of extraordinary valorization, which by law occurs when prices rise, the merit percentage part of the pension is increased. Under normal rules, the increase from June would be 11.5 percent. According to the proposal, the percentage of the pension will increase by 2.3 percent and on top of all that by 400 crowns, which, according to the reasoning, should slightly favor pensioners with the lowest pensions.
The parliamentary approval of the pension growth restriction was accompanied by extensive opposition obstruction. Despite the declared state of legislative emergency, the deputies discussed the valorization of five working days, including at night. The Senate, in which the ruling parties have a clear majority, adopted the bill with a large majority despite the doubts of its committees. After thinking it over, the new president Petr Pavel announced on Wednesday that he would sign the reduction of the June valuation, which he did a day later. According to Pavel, however, it is necessary for the law to be reviewed by constitutional judges, as the opposition wants. The President also proved the government right, according to which the reduction of the valuation is necessary due to the state of the state budget, even in the following years.
By adjusting the June valuation, the state will spend an extra 15 billion crowns on pensions this year, according to the explanatory report for the amendment . If normal rules were to apply, state budget expenditures would increase by 34.4 billion crowns. The budgetary impact will continue in the following years. According to the rationale, next year will be a saving of 33 billion crowns from the originally anticipated 58.8 billion crowns spent on additional pensions.