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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2003): Pensions - Overseas

GERMANY SIGNALS SUPPORT FOR RISE IN RETIREMENT AGE

H. Williamson

Financial Times, Aug.29th 2003, p.6

The Rürup Commission is recommending far-reaching reform of the German pension system. Proposals include:

  • increasing retirement age from 65 to 67 between 2011 and 2035;
  • increasing subsidies for private and occupational pension schemes to boost take-up;
  • choice between two health care models, a citizens' insurance or flat-rate health premiums;
  • cuts in long term nursing care insurance;
  • introduction of a "sustainability factor" linking rate of pensions increase to the ratio between the number of working contributors and the number of pensioners.

PENSION AGE TO RISE IN ITALY AND GERMANY

S. Arie and B. Aris

Guardian, Aug.27th 2003, p.12

The German and Italian governments are proposing to raise the retirement age in their countries to control the spiralling costs of state pensions.

BERLUSCONI SEEKS TO RAISE RETIREMENT AGE

T. Barber

Financial Times, August 26th 2003, p.6

Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister, has said he wants to raise the average retirement age by up to five years. Experts on Italy's welfare state say a higher retirement age is one way to address the long team threat to the pensions system posed by the country's aging population and its very low birthrate. But Mr. Burlesconi's proposal would challenge a cornerstone of the present system - the "anzianata" (old age) pensions that people who have worked for 35 years can claim once they are 57.

SINGAPORE PLANS BIG CHANGES IN PENSIONS

J. Burton

Financial Times, Aug.29th 2003, p.9

In order to reduce business costs, the government of Singapore is proposing to cut employers' contribution to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) from 16% of salary to 13%. Government is also suggesting a more flexible rate scheme, with employer contributions to the CPF rising to 16% in good years and falling to 10% in bad ones. The Fund provides pensions but is also used to finance mortgages and support medical expenses.

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND THE REFORM OF EUROPE'S PENSION SYSTEMS

E. Schokkart and P. van Parijs

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.13, 2003, p.245-279

Article spells out the implications for pension systems of a concept of social justice that articulates the values of freedom, efficiency and solidarity. Goes on to consider, in the light of this idea of social justice, five options for pension reform in Europe. These are:

  • a switch from pay-as-you-go to fully funded systems;
  • a switch from publicly to privately funded schemes;
  • changing to a Bismarckian system;
  • raising the retirement age;
  • creation of a unified European pension system.
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