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Brussels, 24 November 2010

Equality: Commission welcomes end of discriminatory pension ages in Greece and Italy; closes infringement cases

The European Commission has welcomed notification by Greece and Italy of measures to comply with EU rules on pensionable ages. In its rulings of 26 March 2009 and 13 November 2008, the EU’s Court of Justice found that different pensionable ages in Greece (case C-559/07) and Italy (case C-46/07) for male and female civil servants violated the principle of equal pay. The Commission has closed the infringement proceedings after the two countries corrected the gender differences.

Equal pay for women and men is enshrined in Article 157 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In the context of occupational pensions, this means that pensionable ages have to be the same for women and men. The EU’s Court of Justice has confirmed several times that civil servants' pensions must be considered as "pay" and as employer pension schemes.

The Commission began infringement cases against both Greece (IP/10/88) and Italy (IP/10/674) on this basis. It has now decided to close both cases because the gender differences were corrected. In particular:

Greece provided evidence that a new law was adopted that will equalise the pensionable age in both the private and public sectors by 2013. Greece also repealed provisions in the law establishing different rights for mothers in civil and military service. This concerned the rights to an earlier pension formerly only open to female officials and military staff with three children, minor children or disabled children. These provisions currently apply to both sexes.

Italy adopted a law in July 2010 equalising the pensionable age for women in public service. Men and women will have the same pensionable age of 65 years as of 1 January 2012.

Further information

EU gender equality legislation

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:

For more information about EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/10/605

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