ZAGREB, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Union initiative "67 is too much" filed on Thursday to the Croatian parliament signatures collected for pension referendum to return retirement age to 65.
They submitted a total of 65 boxes with 748,624 signatures, collected in two weeks beginning on April 27. The unionists decided to collect signatures for a referendum on pension age after the government decided to raise the retirement age limit from 65 to 67. To initiate a referendum, they needed to collect 373,568 signatures or ten percent of registered voters in the country.
The parliament is expected to send a request for the referendum to the government, who should first check all the signatures before calling the referendum. The union representative Mirela Bojic said on Thursday that the union doesn't want to negotiate with the government.
"Citizens signed to hold a referendum, and not to negotiate," Bojic told reporters in the parliament. She also said that the union wanted to negotiate with the government earlier, but since it didn't show any interest, the time has passed now.
Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic explained to reporters that there is still an opportunity for the parliament to ask the Constitutional Court if the question for pension referendum is in line with the Croatian constitution.
Raising the pension age from 65 to 67 is a key element of the government's pension reform which went into force on Jan. 1, 2019. It was also one of the reforms the European Commission proposed to Croatia.
The Commission warned that due to the aging population, Croatia could face big problems in the future and proposed not just raising the age limit, but also indorsing penalties for taking early retirements and changing the system of benefits.