SPAIN – The Spanish government has announced that there will be no reform of the pensions system before next year's general election.

The comments come despite a recent report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that urged Spain to move to a career-average pension system to avoid a serious pension crisis in the near future.

The decision was made public yesterday after a meeting of the 'Pacto de Toledo' commission, the political think-tank formed by representatives of Spain's political parties created to supervise the reform of the country's social security system.

The Minister for Work, Eduardo Zaplana, said that the postponement is needed to avoid political tensions during this term - even though they still believe the move to a career-average system is necessary to face the future of the country's system.

"We believe this is the best option to save the system, but we will not impose any reform without parliamentary consensus during this term," he said.

The years of contributions to the social security system taken into account when receiving a pension have increased from the two last years of employment in 1985 to the current last 15 years. A move to a 30-year-average, or a career-average, would mean significant reductions in pension payments.

Taking into account recent developments in neighbouring France, the Spanish government will not take any risks with public opposition until the next election.

On the positive side, members of the commission of the 'Pacto de Toledo' also announced that they will intensify their work to be able to approve before August reforms to the 1995 agreement on the reform of the social security, including improvements to the pensions framework.