The Croatian Pensioners' Party (HSU) is opposed to the government's plan to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67 and says it will launch a signature-gathering drive for a referendum against such a bill.

"The situation is absurd and the only remedy against this measure is for people to take the matter into their own hands, and we will give them a chance to do that. As soon as we see the bill, we will start gathering signatures for a referendum so that people can decide by direct democracy," HSU leader Silvano Hrelja told a press conference in Zagreb on Thursday.

"On the one hand, there are a lot of young people who get their first job when they are between 30 and 35, while on the other hand older citizens will be working until death. The whole idea of pension insurance contributions is futile because people will not be able to enjoy their pension for even ten years," Hrelja said.

He said he expected amendments to pension legislation to be proposed in the second half of the year because they should enter into force at the beginning of 2017. He expressed hope that other political and civil organisations would join the HSU in gathering signatures for the referendum.

Hrelja said that so far the HSU had gathered 63,083 signatures against increasing the cost of supplementary health insurance. He said that this signature-gathering campaign was finishing on Saturday, after which the signatures would be presented to Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Deputy Prime Minister for Social Issues Bozo Petrov.

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