One group of victims of the current gas supply crisis – acute in SE Europe where supply seems to have been stopped and reserves are low to non-existent – are Romania’s pensioners. However, it’s less because they are freezing in unheated homes, but because – Nine O’Clock reports
– emergency government decrees make it illegal to receive a state salary and a pension simultaneously. This common (and discriminatory practice) of applying financial sanction against working pensioners – or pensioners who want to work – has more often been seeen as means of shaking out the labour market and helping the young unemployed, but here seems to be have been smuggled in as an emergency measure. Romanian trade unions seem to defending the interests of their retired (former) members.
Update: Romania’s Constitutional Court has a subsequent report notes since ruled this element in the emergency decrees illegal and unconstitutional, although the government seems intent on pushing the policy through legislation (the ruling centred on the permitted scope of emergency decrees). Prime Minister Boc has come out with all populist guns blazing, claiming that the measure is needed to prevent ‘debauchery of state funds’ by unnamed elite groups (seem to include some former judges) rather than hard pressed retired public employees who may need a few extra lei to make ends meet.