Poland's plans to cut ex-agents' pensions
Poland's national conservative ruling party PiS plans to cut the pensions of ex-secret service agents and police officers who were active under the communist regime and remained in service after 1990. Around 32,000 people would see their pensions reduced from high to average levels as a result. How fair is the initiative?
Justice for the victims
The proposal is a good idea, the daily Rzeczpospolita writes after interviewing several former secret service officers:
“One was an official from eastern Poland who left school after sixth grade and entered the secret service in the 1950s. He started at the Ministry for Public Security and after a couple of years he was already the head of a district branch. When free Poland was established he had ended his career as colonel and department head at the Interior Ministry. He has far more than ten people on his conscience. And for his services the democratic Poland pays him several thousand złoty [up to 4,500 euros] a month. When we met him he didn't show the slightest remorse. And we also met his victims, who went to jail and lost their health. Many of them now live in poverty. ... Social justice must finally be restored to the right balance. ”
PiS all about revenge and populism
The government's proposal on cutting the pensions of former secret service employees is pure populism, Gazeta Wyborcza rails:
“When the People's Republic broke up in 1990, commissions established by the opposition investigated former bureaucrats. The victims evaluated the offences committed by those who persecuted them. And they excluded from public office those who had fiercely attacked the Church and the opposition. Those who the state assessed positively were given a chance to work in democratic Poland. In exchange they had to promise loyalty to the new state. Many people took this pledge seriously. And the large majority of them went on to do sterling work. ... Now, however, this is no longer about justice but just about revenge and populism.”