ITALY – A senior public sector social security figure has said the retirement age for Italian citizens could be increased to 70.

In an interview with financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Giancarlo Fontanelli, senior director at the Istituto Nazionale di Previdenza per I Dipendenti dell’Amministrazione Pubblica, or Inpdap, the social security institution for employees in the public sector, said that the age of retirement would gradually have to be increased.

He added: “Already some categories of workers, like judges or university professors, don’t enter retirement till the age of 70 or above, and 70 could become the retirement age for everyone.”

Rather than enforcing an increased age from 65 to 70, however, Fontanelli suggests that incentives should be introduced to encourage people to work longer. This echoes proposals made by the Italian government.

Stressing equal pensions regulation for everyone, Fontanelli raised the question of whether women should have a lower retirement age than men, given that their longer life expectancy. In addition, he suggested that public sector and private sector pensions should also be brought in line with each another – a subject of recent debate also in France, Austria and the UK.

In Italy, discussions are already underway about combining the social security institutions, Inpdap and Inps – Inps being the national institution for social security for private sector workers. Fontanelli supported the move, saying: “There is no point in having two large institutions that calculate in the same way the pensions of public and private sector workers.”

The merger of the two institutions is presently being looked at by the Italian government, among other proposals which should increase the alignment of public and private sector pensions.