ITALY – Italy’s labour, health and welfare minister, Roberto Maroni, has rejected the OECD’s call for speedier pension reform.

“The best pension reform presented is the one by the government, even if some corrections can be made, keeping the financial figures the same,” Maroni was quoted as saying by the official news service of the prime minister’s office.

The report said Maroni rejected the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s request that Italy speed up its pension reform.

“We don’t see the reason why, since welfare problems must be faced in the medium term, otherwise people are only looking to make a quick buck,” he said.

“Those who live in some office in London, Brussels or Paris cant understand the choices that a government must make on such delicate questions.”

He added that “as soon as Parliament approves it, the incentives will start until 2008. This is the government’s decision”.

This week the OECD said of Italy: “A significant decline in the high debt ratio will require additional structural measures, notably a faster implementation of the recent pension proposals.”