Romania, a country of pensioners, reveals Presidential commission report

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Romania has become a country of pensioners and this phenomenon tends to accentuate, announced on Tuesday Prof. Dr. Marian Preda, chairman of the Presidential commission for social and demography risks analysis in Romania, on the occasion of the presentation of the commission’s report at Cotroceni Palace.

„The pension system represents approximately 9 percent of Romania’s GDP and approximately 26 percent of the public spending. We have become a country of pensioners and this tendency will get accentuated, irrespective of what would happen with the population’s structure, because younger generations, born after 1989, will draw a pension very late”, said Marian Preda.

He reminded that there were more than 8 million employees in Romania and 3.5 million pensioners in 1990 and, at present, their number is almost 5 million employees and more than 6 million pensioners.

„Social policies in Romania in the past 19-20 years were characterized first of all – and this is commission’s opinion – by lack of coherence, inefficiency, waste, budget unbalances (…) multiple and flagrant inequities”, Marian Preda presented one of the main conclusions of this report.

He noted at the same time that one of the reasons is the fact that human resources in the social policies sphere are often insufficient at the local level, not properly trained, politically named and controlled, especially in the rural zones.

Marian Preda said at the same time that one quarter of the children in Romania risk poverty, that just a third of the jobless receive the unemployment benefit, and half of the people engaged in agriculture live in households below the poverty level.

„The poverty rate is three times higher in rural areas than in the urban zones. How many persons living in the rural zones can be seen on TV other than being victims, reporters emphasizing their problems and maybe their lack of intellectual training?”, asked Preda.

Marian Preda also emphasized that the general effort in the social protection field in Romania is limited and just 14 percent of GDP was earmarked for social protection in 2006 compared to 31 percent in France or Sweden.

As well, the expert pointed out that the number of pensioners for invalidity rose from 208,000 in 1990 to 892,000 in 2008, and the upward trend continued this year.

Preda also said that Romania is the sole country in the European Union which failed to launch a process of establishing the same retirement age for men and women. At the same time he said that Romania has the highest infant mortality rate in Europe and 2.8 million Romanians worked abroad in 2008, sending 6 billion euros in remittances annually.

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