The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on 5 May
1986, the following members being present:

                    MM. C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                        G. SPERDUTI
                        J.A. FROWEIN
                        M.A. TRIANTAFYLLIDES
                        G. JÖRUNDSSON
                        S. TRECHSEL
                        B. KIERNAN
                        A. WEITZEL
                        J.C. SOYER
                        H.G. SCHERMERS
                        H. DANELIUS
                        G. BATLINER
                   Mrs  G.H. THUNE
                   Sir  Basil HALL

Mr.  H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Art. 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (art. 25);
Having regard to the application introduced on 26 April 1984 by K.
against the Federal Republic of Germany and registered on 18
October 1984 under file No. 11203/84;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Commission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:


The facts of the case, as they have been submitted by the applicant,
may be summarised as follows:

The applicant is a German citizen born in 1902 and resident in Essen.
He is a retired businessman who receives a pension on the basis of
mostly voluntary contributions to the German Employees' Old Age
Insurance Scheme (gesetzliche Rentenversicherung der Angestellten).

On 25 July 1978, the German legislator enacted the Pensions Adaptation
Act No. 21 (21 Rentenanpassungsgesetz), which deferred from 1 July to
1 January the date of the annual adaptation of the pensions to the
general increase of salaries, thereby omitting the adaptation of 1
January 1978.  The Act furthermore abandoned the legislative practice
to calculate the adaptation percentage on the basis of the average
income of the insured.  Instead, without such reference, the Act fixed
4.5% as the percentage for the year 1979 and 4% as the percentage for
the years 1980 and 1981, respectively.

In 1979 the applicant lodged a constitutional complaint to the Federal
Constitutional Court alleging that the Act in question violated his
property rights and the principle of equality before the law.  The
applicant complained, in particular, about the loss of more than 13%
which he had suffered in comparison with the former legislative
practice.  He furthermore pointed at the fact that the civil servants'
pensions were not affected by these changes in legislation.

On 10 May 1983, the plenary Federal Constitutional Court pronounced a
leading decision in a parallel case.  The court found that pensions on
the basis of the Old Age Insurance Scheme (gesetzliche
Rentenversicherung) were in their substance guaranteed by the right to
respect for property.  The court nevertheless left open the question
whether or not the same protection had to be afforded to the
adaptation of pensions.  In view of the fact that in any event the
German legislator had lawfully determined the extent of the right to
respect for property as regards both the date and the modalities of
the adaptation.  These changes did not call in question the rôle of
the pension in securing individual freedom.  They were also not
disproportionate to the aim achieved, namely to avoid a further
deficit of the pension scheme.  This overriding public interest also
justified breaching the insured persons' trust in a continuation of
the former legislative practice.  Finally, the court found that the
Act did not violate the principle of equality.  In particular, the
decisive aim of the Act in question was to secure the financial basis
of the Old Age Insurance Scheme, whereas there were no financial
problems with the quite different system of the Civil Servants'
Pensions Scheme (Versicherung der Beamten und Angestellten des
offentlichen Dienstes).  Thus, a differential treatment between
employees and civil servants was justified.

On 3 November 1983, the Federal Constitutional Court dismissed the
applicant's constitutional complaint as offering no prospects of
success.  The court referred to the above-mentioned leading decision.


1.      The applicant complains under Art. 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1)
that the Pensions Adaptation Act No. 21 violates his right to peaceful
enjoyment of his possessions.

2.      The applicant furthermore alleges a violation of Art. 14
(art. 14) of the Convention in that the German legislator did not at
the same time reduce the pensions of civil servants.

3.       Moreover, the applicant complains that the Federal
Constitutional Court rejected his constitutional complaint without a
detailed consideration of his case.  He relies on Art. 6, para. 1
(art. 6-1) of the Convention.


1.      The applicant complains about the reduction of his pension due
to the Pensions Adaptation Act No. 21 of 1978.  He relies on Art. 1 of
Protocol No. 1 (P1-1) which secures to everyone the peaceful
enjoyment of his possessions.

The Commission observes that the Pensions Adaptation Act in question,
as the Federal Constitutional Court pointed out, aimed at
strengthening the financial resources of the general Old Age Pensions
Scheme.  The Act did not reduce the pensions paid at that time, but
only deferred and reduced the annual increase of pensions for a period
of three years.

The Commission considers that even assuming that Art. 1 of Protocol
No. 1 (P1-1) guarantees persons who have paid contributions to
a social insurance system the right to derive benefit from the system,
it cannot be interpreted as entitling such a person to a pension of a
particular amount.  Because of its public importance, the social
security system must take account of political considerations, in
particular those of financial policy.  It is conceivable, for
instance, that a deflationary trend may oblige a State to reduce the
nominal amount of pensions.  Therefore, only a substantial reduction
of the amount of the pension could be regarded as affecting the very
substance of the right to retain the benefit of an old age insurance
system (see Müller v. Austria, Comm. Report 1.10.75, para. 30-33,
D.R. 3 p. 25).

Consequently, in this respect, the complaint does not disclose any
appearance of a violation of Art. 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1).

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Art. 27, para. 2 (art. 27-2) of the Convention.

2.      The applicant also complains under Art. 14 (art. 14) of the
Convention in connection with Art. 1 of Protocol No. 1 (P1-1)
that the Act in question discriminated against the private employees
and voluntarily insured tradesmen, because it did not reduce the
increase of the pensions paid to civil servants.

The Commission, however, recalls its previous case-law, in which it
has recognised the basic difference between the legal situation of
civil servants and that of self-employed tradesmen and private
employees which can justify, under Art. 14 (art. 14) of the
Convention, that the system adopted by the legislator for retirement
pensions of civil servants is not based on the same principles as the
social insurance schemes for tradesmen and employees (No. 7624/76,
Dec. 6.7.77, D.R. 19 p. 100).

The Commission notes that, in the present case, the regulations at
issue were meant to secure the financial basis of the social insurance
system which was mostly financed by contributions and thereby
basically differed from the civil servants' pensions based on the
principle of support.

The Commission therefore concludes that the special treatment of
social insurance pensions is justified in the light of these
considerations in order to secure a just and secure payment of social
insurance pensions in the future.

In these circumstances, there is no appearance of a violation of
Art. 14 (art. 14) of the Convention combined with Art. 1 of Protocol
No. 1 (P1-1).

It follows that this part of the application is also manifestly
ill-founded within the meaning of Art. 27 para. 2 (art. 27-2) of the

3.      The applicant has further alleged that the proceedings before
the Federal Constitutional Court violated his right to a fair hearing
as guaranteed by Art. 6 para. 1 (art. 6-1) of the Convention.
However, according to the Commission's jurisprudence, Art. 6 (art. 6)
does not apply to proceedings before a Constitutional Court
(No. 8410/78, Dec. 13.12.79, D.R. 18 p. 216).

This part of the application must therefore be rejected as being
incompatible ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention
within the meaning of Art. 27 para. 2 (art. 27-2) of the Convention.

For these reaons, the Commission


Secretary to the Commission                President of the Commisison

       (H.C. KRÜGER)                               (C.A. NØRGAARD)