CSM warns Gov’t not to tax the magistrates’ pensions, threaten to notify Constitutional Court and international bodies

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The magistrates’ service pension is a component of the justice independence, and if they are affected, the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) will notify the international bodies and the Constitutional Court in regard to a constitutional conflict.

This is the position of the CSM after public information appeared on the proposal of the Minister of Public Finances, in order to adopt measures that could tax the magistrates’ pensions.

“In most states it is provided the constitutional obligation to guarantee judges and prosecutors, upon the termination of their duties, the payment of a pension which is as close as possible to the level of the last remuneration, in line with European jurisprudence in the matter. In the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Romania, referring to the decisions of similar courts in other European Union states, it has been stated constantly and unequivocally that the abolition of the magistrates’ service pensions contravenes to the principle of justice independence, being an unconstitutional measure, given the special status of this professional category,” the CSM informs in a press release issued to ziare.com.

According to the CSM, also against the principle of justice independence are the equivalent measures, such as those envisaged, “which would actually diminish the benefit and the amount of the magistrates’ pensions, representing a masked elimination.”

“It must be recalled that the justice independence, as constitutional guarantee, includes the financial security of the magistrates, which also presupposes the provision of social security, such as the service pension for the magistrates, as well as defending it as an integral part of their financial stability, to the same extent in which it defends the other guarantees of this principle,” the CSM release also reads.

Finance Minister Eugen Teodorovici said on Tuesday that the solidarity tax envisaged by the Government would not apply only to special pensions, because there may be problems of constitutionality. The minister specified that the package of decisions include the ceiling above which the pensions will be considered high so that they are taxed, as well as the percentage of the solidarity tax.

“It is about all pensions, because it has to be constitutional. We discuss the ceiling and the percentage, they’ll be decided together,” Teodorovici said,

Last week, Eugen Teodorovici said that the special pensions will be included in a package of measures regarding the spending of public money, which will be discussed in advance by the Government and by the ruling coalition and which should be correlated with the budget rectification.

“The special pension part is one of the measures that the Ministry of Public Finances will propose in a package of other measures on better spending of public money. (…) I believe they should be correlated, i.e. the discussion on this package of measures with the budget rectification, in order to know very clearly which measures will be accepted by the coalition and the impact will be taken into account for this year and for the years to come. Some can be implemented over short term, medium term or over long term. The whole package of measures will be discussed,” Teodorovici said.

Asked if a progressive tax on pensions of over RON 10,000 would be introduced, the Finance Minister replied that there are several scenarios to be proposed for discussion.

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