EU wants fast pension changes

Greece will need to immediately introduce a law increasing the age that female public servants retire, bringing it up to the same level as men. Following unofficial comments suggesting that the European Commission was preparing to reject the Greek government’s position calling for gradual changes to the law, the press representative of European Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla said that Greece is looking for a solution. At the moment, Greece is trying to find a solution to the problem of how to increase the retirement age of women, she said. The European Commission has yet to make any decision on the issue as it awaits the formal announcement of a new law that puts into effect the European Court’s decison, the press representative highlighted, adding that it is urgent for Greece to introduce such legislation. The Greek government has been given a few months to submit a plan on how it intends to make the retirement age of women equal to that of men. It is noteworthy that the Commission recently rejected a similiar call from Italy asking for time to gradually move ahead with making retirement ages the same. In March, the European Court of Justice ruled that Greek pension laws, which allow women in the civil service and military a shorter minimum length of service and earlier retirement than their male counterparts, were incompatible with European legislation. According to the Brussels court, Greek legislation created preferential conditions for women, especially mothers, in comparison with their male colleagues but did not tackle any of the problems that women faced in their careers. There are fears that the ruling could trigger the en masse early retirement of women in the civil service, which would be a huge drain on the government’s meager resources. Meanwhile, the civil servants’ union has warned any attempt to raise the retirement age would be a «casus belli» and accused the government of failing to challenge the Commission’s decision.