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Urgent pension reform needed in Italy
May 23, 2003
- The head of Italian employers' body Confindustria has called for early
implementation of the conservative government's pension reform plans to
boost a stagnant economy.
"It's only in
having a structural reform of pensions before the budget that the
government can ... kick-start the economy,"Antonio D'Amato told the
body's general assembly in Rome which was attended by Prime Minister
A framework law
that includes incentives to delay retirement is currently being discussed
by the Italian senate and may be ready before the 2004 budget is presented
labour unions are vehemently opposed to the reform, particularly the idea
of imposing financial penalties on those who retire before the legal age
— currently 65 for men and 60 for women.
D'Amato is strongly
in favour however. "Those who choose to take early retirement should
receive a little less," he said.
The unions have
threatened a general strike on the issue in the second half of June.
Similar reforms in France and Austria have led to a wave of public service
strikes in the past month.
But Social Affairs
Minister Roberto Maroni said Thursday that the idea of penalising early
retirees was not, for the moment, part of the framework law that he said
dealt only with incentives to prolong working years.
indicated he would consult Berlusconi on the issue, however. In his public
comments on the issue so far, the prime minister has said the law should
include both incentives and penalties.
On the broader
issue of public finances, D'Amato told the assembly that the next budget
was "the last chance" to kick-start the economy and called for a
reduction in corporate tax, particularly for firms toiling in the
D'Amato said Confindustria predicted euro-zone growth of “only one% in 2003 and a modest 1.8% in 2004."