Brussels, 25 June 2009
Commission takes legal action against Italy on discriminatory pension age
The European Commission has decided to take legal action against Italy for failure to comply with a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on differences in the pension age for male and female civil servants. It will send Italy a "letter of formal notice" under Article 228 EC over the country's failure to follow a Court ruling last year that current Italian provisions violate the principle of equal pay for men and women.
"Equal pay for women and men is a founding principle of the EU, but more than seven months after the Court of Justice ruled Italy's civil service pension scheme to be discriminatory, the authorities have yet to act," said Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Equal Opportunities. "Italy needs to bring its legislation into line with the Court's ruling as soon as possible or risks further legal action," he added.
On 13 November 2008, the ECJ ruled against Italy for providing that public employees are entitled to receive the old age pension at different ages depending on whether they are male or female.
Under the pension scheme managed by the INPDAP (National Provident Institution for the Employees of Public Authorities), the general pension age for men is 65 and for women 60. The Court agreed with the Commission's argument that the scheme was discriminatory and contrary to Article 141 of the EC Treaty on the principle of equal pay for male and female workers since an occupational pension paid by an employer to a former employee constitutes pay within the meaning of Article 141. The Commission had brought its action against Italy on 1 February 2007.
Article 228 of the EC Treaty provides that a Member State must take all measures necessary to comply with a Court ruling which finds that the State has failed to meet its obligation under Community Law. If it does not do so, the Commission may open new infringement proceedings. In the present case, the Commission understands that more than seven months after the judgment in case C-46/07, Italy has yet to act on the Court's ruling. The Commission has therefore decided to open new infringement proceedings by way of a letter of formal notice which gives Italy two months to present its observations.
Judgment of the European Court of Justice of 13 November 2008 in case C-46/07:
Gender equality in the EU