Germany considers lifting retirement age to 67

28th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 October 2005, BERLIN - Germans could be facing the prospect of having to work longer, under a plan being drawn up by the country's new "grand coalition" government.

28 October 2005

BERLIN - Germans could be facing the prospect of having to work longer, under a plan being drawn up by the country's new "grand coalition" government.

Faced with growing pressure on the nation's state pension system, Social Democrat's (SDP) chief Franz Muentefering said Thursday that negotiators piecing together the agreement for the new government were considering raising the retirement age to 67 from 65.

Muentefering, who is the new government's designate Labour and Social Affairs Minister, said the drive to early retirement needed to come to an end.

Berlin's plan to raise the retirement age is the latest sign of the financial impact an ageing population is having on western nations.

It also represents another step in Germany towards winding back the benefits built up during the country's post Second World War "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic miracle) which helped to turn the nation into something of a workers' paradise.

Outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD-led government moved to trim the welfare state and to cut benefits in a bid to underpin growth and to address high unemployment as well as tackling the ageing of the population.

The first step towards lifting the retirement age would likely be in 2007 or 2008, Muentefering said. From 2035, Germans would retire at 67.

He was speaking following the third round of talks between the SPD and Chancellor-designate Angela Merkel's conservative political bloc.

As another sign of the pressure on the state pension system, Muentefering said that pensioners should not expect any increase in their retirement benefits in the coming year. This will represent the third consecutive year that there has been no increase in pensions.

The SPD and Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CDU-CSU) have focused on attempting to thrash out a deal aimed at plugging a hole in the country's finances.

On Monday SPD and CDU-CSU leaders agreed to slash government spending by 35 billion euros (42 billion dollars) by 2007 in a bid to bring Germany's deficit back into line with the three per cent rule for euro member states.

DPA

Subject: German news

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