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German government plans pension reform conference

GERMANY – The German government is planning a conference on pensions reform for the leaders of all the political parties.

According to reports in the German press, the government will meet with the heads of the various factions and parties in the middle of next month to discuss the reform, which looks set to lead to an increase in the age of retirement.

It is believed that a compromise between the parties will be met. At present pension reform discussions seem hopeless as the majority parties of the Bundersrat and the Bundestag are different, leading to changes in social policy being blocked.

Also at the meeting, the final report on the future of the social system will be discussed, according to a report in the Berliner Zeitung. The report is to be presented at the end of September, and has been put together by a panel of experts headed by former president Roman Herzog.

A panel of experts headed by academic Bert Ruerup recently produced a report and set of proposals for pensions reform. The measures put forward include a phased-in raising of the retirement age to 67 and a reduction in pension benefits.

The unpopular issue of increasing the retirement age looks inevitable given the demographic problems facing Germany. “We will have to react to demographic changes, but the issue of raising the retirement age is a very emotional discussion,” explains Klaus Stiefermann, of the Association of Occupational Pensions in Heidelberg.

After the discussions in mid-October, proposal drafts can be expected.

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