SPAIN - The Congress Working Committee in Spain has agreed to introduce new conditions to soften the pension reform plan launched by the government at the beginning of this year, while the IMF has called on the country to adopt much stronger reforms to stabilise its economy.

The amendments introduced by the Congress Working Committee follow a request made by the Catalan centre right party (CiU).

According to the changes, the calculation for pension benefits will now take into account paid training done by all Spanish workers over a period of two years.

In the previous plan, introduced in January, only workers who had had training in the four years before the introduction of the pension reform were allowed to include them in their pensions calculations.

The Congress Working Committee has also agreed to revise the legal retirement age for workers with disabilities. People with a total impairment of more than 45% will be allowed to take their retirement at 56, instead of the current 58.

However, the IMF has said that Spain must introduce deeper reforms, including in the labour and pension markets, to stabilise its economy.

According to the IMF, the several reforms launched by the country last year have helped the economy to find a better balance, but the international organisation stressed that those reforms were insufficient and that important risks remained.

In January, the Spanish government adopted a reform that aimed to push back the legal retirement age from 65 to 67 years.

This new legal retirement age will be implemented progressively from 2013.