>Greys push Serbian coalition for pension hike

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Serbia’s pro-European government has (more) problems because of an obstreperous junior coalition partner. However, it’s not the communists-turned-socialists-turned-nationalists-turned-something-else of the Socialist Party who are the problem, but, reports B92, their allies and sidekicks in the Party of United (or if you prefer Associated) Pensioners (PUPS). And, for once the issue, isn’t nationalism but bread and butter who-gets-what politics that anyone can understand: PUPSs is straightforwardly demanding a big and costly pension hike. Similarly hard bargains have been driven by pensioners’ parties in the newly formed quad-coalition in Slovenia and the now defunct Kadima led administration in Israel.
Update: And, just to update, Earth Times reports that a deal has been signed

“In the end, the smallest partner in the ruling alliance, the pensioners party PUPS, wrangled a concession to keep a 10-per cent increase of pensions that it promised its voters ahead of May polls.

To compensate, [Serbian PM Mirko] Cvetkovic was forced to agree to a freeze in public sector salaries starting immediately and lasting until at least October 2009 – which may lead to protests and strikes.”

A neat illusion of generational politics and the usefulness of a small kingmaker pensioners’ party? Perhaps, although Balkan Insight notes that the deal does involve then freezing pensions in 2009

In Croatia similar pressures linked to an IMF bailout reportedly threatens the Sanader government’s coalition with the (much weaker) Croatian Pensioners’ Party (HSU), although I dare say he may manage a little more easily without the HSU’s one deputy.

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