Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou Tuesday admitted he had defaulted on one of his campaign promises of not raising the retirement age, because “it was impossible” not to modify it.
”In 2019, the reports of the (GDP) expenditure in the retirement system said that by 2060 we were going to reach the situation we have today, Lacalle argued.
He added that he had been forced to change his mind on the advice of a team of experts headed by Rodolfo Saldain. I insisted, I helped and that is the reason for that transition period from 65 to 71 in which the retirement age is corrected to 65, he assured.
Unfortunately the system is in this situation and advised by a team of experts with the new demographic and expenditure numbers we arrive at this situation,” Lacalle added.
The President also denounced the opposition Frente Amplio (Broad Front) for looking the other way during their 15 straight years in office (Tabaré Vásquez 2005-2010 / 2015-2020 and Pepe Mujica 2010-2015). They have not proposed anything, they have only generated more deficit with the last reform, Lacalle stressed.
Am I going to leave this bomb to my children, to my grandchildren? Political cost, what is the political cost? I don't expect to be alive in 30 or 40 years and to be pointed at and told, you didn't do what you had to do and the system is underfunded, he added.
For 15 years they have been saying: 'We have to fix the retirement system'. They take the ball, boom, they kick it up, forward. And let someone else run it. They lent me the ball, now what do I do? Do I do the same? I kick it forward over to the next government?, Lacalle argued in a clear mind change from his previous stance that the rules of the game were not to be changed for those already working, who had a retirement age in their life plans and will now have to deal with another if Congress passes the bill submitted by the Executive, which foresees a gradual increase until reaching the age of 65.
Regarding objections from the opposition, particularly leaders stemming from the labor Pit-Cnt, Lacalle claimed that maybe before they were used to be closer to the government or to co-govern.
I do not understand why I should have presented the project to the Pit-Cnt. We are going to do it on Thursday, but first things first, The President insisted. The Pit-Cnt is no government, it is a union, he added.
Lacalle also explained that people born between 1967 and 1971 would gradually shift towards a higher retirement age.
Regarding co-hosting the 2030 Football World Cup, Lacalle said the government was willing to help in issues such as country branding and investments.
The joint bid between Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile seeks to bring the 2030 World Cup to the region, 100 years after the start of the World Cup in Montevideo.
If there is a moment when the bus passes and we have to take it, it is 2030, said Lacalle, who admitted Montevideo's Centenario Stadium was the key magnet to bring the event back to where it all started in 1930.