Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Jovanka Trenchevska, announced the forthcoming adoption of a fresh set of anti-crisis measures by the government, expected to roll out either next week or, at the latest, by the end of November. These measures aim to assist several segments of society, notably including those among the lowest-income pensioners. Trenchevska emphasized the need for a potential review of legislation to swiftly initiate financial support for the beneficiaries outlined in this upcoming package.

Regarding the persistent calls from pensioners for a flat increase of Mden 5,000 in pensions and the elevation of the minimum pension to Mden 18,000 or 20,000, Trenchevska reiterated her stance, labeling these demands as impractical and posing a risk to the stability of the pension system.

Responding to queries before a debate on students’ living standards at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje, Trenchevska pointed out that the demands primarily stemmed from individuals with higher pensions, visible at various protests. She highlighted that the Pensioners’ Initiative Board comprises mostly pensioners receiving Mden 50,000 or 30,000, with only a few on low pensions.

Expressing concern over the financial implications, Trenchevska explained that a linear rise of Mden 5,000 for all 336,000 pensioners would annually incur a cost of EUR 324 million solely for this demand. Additionally, meeting the proposed Mden 18,000 or 20,000 minimum pension would significantly strain the pension system, potentially compromising future pension disbursements for the existing 336,000 pensioners. Upholding stability within the pension system remained a priority for the government, ensuring punctual payment of pensions on the first day of each month.

Trenchevska highlighted that the upcoming anti-crisis measures would extend assistance to pensioners currently receiving a minimum pension of Mden 9,000, which would be raised to Mden 13,000. Despite acknowledging that Mden 13,000 might not be sufficient for a pensioner to cover monthly expenses, she underscored the government’s efforts to provide supplementary financial aid on a solidarity basis, particularly for individuals facing financial hardships.