Elderly People Protest against "Genocide" against Pensioners

Elderly People Protest against "Genocide" against Pensioners

Sofia, March 9 (BTA) - Elderly people staged a rally mottoed "Let's stop the genocide against Bulgarian pensioners!" in front of the building of the President's Administration.

The Bulgarian Association of Pensioners and the National Bulgarian University - Retirement Age Association were some of the organizations represented at the rally. Their demands include a minimum pension of 350 leva (up from slightly over 160 leva now), which should rise to 500 leva in the next four years, and calculating the old pensions on the basis of the average contributory income for the previous 12 months. Other demands include low-priced medicines and medical products, free medicines and medical treatment for people aged over 65, and free eye and dental examinations.

The pensioners will present their demands to the President and the Council of Ministers and will call on the President to hold a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security devoted to the problems of elderly people, many of whom live at or below the poverty line.

The pensioners' organizations claim that elderly people are subject to a quiet genocide. Gancho Popov, member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and head of the university for elderly people, said it was degrading for pensioners in Bulgaria, which is an EU Member State, to get 2.5 times less than pensioners in Albania and Macedonia. Also, the minimum pension in Serbia is twice as high as Bulgaria's at 219 euro. Popov said over 66 per cent of Bulgaria's 2,158,885 pensioners live below the critical poverty line, which has been set at a mere 1,900 euro a year in this country, compared to 4,000 euro in Greece, 11,000 euro in Spain, and 13,000 euro in Latvia.

Source: Sofia