Germany enacted Friday a hike in its retirement age from 65 to 67, with the Bundesrat upper house putting its seal on the legislation which aims to head off a crisis in ageing German society.
With Germans living longer, there are no longer enough active workers in the workforce to fund pensions for the older generation, so the line between the two groups is be gradually moved between 2012 and 2029.
Labour groups have campaigned against the change, accusing the government of robbing workers and plunging unemployable people in their 60s into poverty, because they must wait longer for pensions.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has left in place provisions that will allow workers to opt for a lower rate of pension till they die if they retire early. Her Christian Democrat and Social Democrat supporters earlier voted the bill through the Bundestag lower house.
The upper house also accepted Friday “Initiative 50 Plus”, a programme of government subsidies for employers who grant jobs to the 50-67 age group. Employers usually prefer younger over older people.
The gradual change in the retirement age means people born in 1947 will wait till the age of 65 years and 1 month to retire. This will increase with each annual contingent of new pensioners. Those born in 1964 will have to work till 67 to qualify for a full public pension.
Meanwhile, in Italy, trade unions and hard leftists are pressing the Prodi government in order not only not to raise retirement age, but actually to lower it below 60. Evidently, in Italy life expectation is shrinking. Or, more likely, someone is trying to steal young people’s future, making pension expenditure ballooning. It’s a typical leftist feature: tax and spend.