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Seeks to Raises Retirement Age
August 25, 2003
Silvio Berlusconi's proposal to reform Italy's pension system by raising
the retirement age by five years was received with caution Monday by his
Italy's aging population and declining birthrate, reform of Italy's
pension system has been a key, albeit thorny, issue for governments in the
premier said in an interview published Sunday that Italy "needs to
raise the retirement age by five years."
Italy people retire at an average of 57," he told the newspaper
Libero. "How can one stop working at such a young age?"
current legislation, workers with 35 years on the job can retire if they
are at least 57.
has insisted the reform is necessary because Italy's aging population is
putting an unsustainable strain on state coffers. International
organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (news
sites) or the European Union (news
sites) have also pressured Italy to rein in its deficit.
start off every year with a 70 trillion lire ($39 billion) pension
deficit," Berlusconi said.
he added, he wanted to secure the backing of his two key allies, National
Alliance and the Northern League.
will convince them," he told Libero. "On Sept. 1, I will lay
down some very strict conditions."
allies reacted cautiously Monday.
Minister Roberto Maroni, a top League official, said he agreed with the
premier's proposal on principle, but added the reform should introduce
"incentives" to keep working five years longer. He ruled out any
reform forcing workers to stay.
Alliance's Ignazio La Russa warned the matter would not be solved in the
first two weeks of September. He also noted that unions, which have
already announced their opposition to the plan, would have to be dealt
"If they upset our pension system, we'll fight against it," said Savino Pezzotta, leader of the CISL union.