The leader of the BUZ pensioners' party, MP Milivoj Spika, on Friday said that his party would not support the announced pension reform which foresees that after 2028 eligibility for an age pension would be 67 and that eligibility for early retirement would not be before the age of 62 and that early retirement before that age would be penalised by 0.3% for each month.

"That policy is not right and BUZ won't support it," Spika said in parliament after a break which the BUZ/HSLS bench, which is part of the ruling Patriotic Coalition, and several other parliamentary groups requested to discuss that topic.

Splika believes that the pension system cannot be salvaged unless new jobs are created.

The law, he recalled, was amended in 2013 by the former Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led government.

"It defined that age pension eligibility would be extended to 67 but as of 2038. With these reforms that is being changed unnecessarily, without anyone compelling us to do so. The public in Croatia has to know that the pension system is exclusively in the remit of Croatia and bringing forward the deadline or rather raising the pension eligibility age to 67 or cumulatively by two years, means that around 60 billion kuna will be saved in the budget at the end of the entire process. On the other hand, the number of the unemployed will increase by 90,000 and we don't why that is being done now," Spika said.

The leader of the opposition Croatian Pensioners' Party, Silvano Hrelja, underscored that his party had never supported raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 and had abstained from voting on that law. "Seeing that that was proposed for 2038, we considered there was plenty of time to fight it in the political arena and have it erased, however, this proposal is even worse," Hrelja said.

He recalled that in 2010 former prime minister Jadranka Kosor introduced penalties for early retirement. "The result was that we had 21,000 early retirements. That will happen again this year and we will have a stampede of people going into early retirement to utilise what is more beneficial for them," Hrelja warned.

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