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Padoan says talks, not cuts, planned for pensions

Government reviewing pension as report revealed golden payments

02 April, 15:00
Padoan says talks, not cuts, planned for pensions (ANSA) - Athens, April 2 - Discussions on the future of pensions in Italy are planned by the government of Premier Matteo Renzi - but that does not include consideration of cuts, Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan said Wednesday.

Renzi had previously pledged that pensions in general will not be cut, Padoan said at the end of meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Athens.

"As Premier Renzi has clearly stated, pensions will not be touched, but details will still be discussed," said Padoan.

In late March, the premier said that he would ignore a recommended pension cut put forward by his spending review commissioner, who is looking for ways to free up cash for new government priorities.

Spending Review Commissioner Carlo Cottarelli has said that if spending on upper-income pensions "which are very high" were cut, billions of euros could be freed up for spending on other budget items, including job creation.

Padoan's comments came as a new report showed that just over seven million Italian retirees - 42.6% of the total of 16.6 million - drew pensions of under 1,000 euros a month in 2012. At the other end of the scale in the eurozone's third-largest economy, 1.3%, or 210,000 people, had pensions of over 5,000 euros a month in 2012, national statistics agency Istat said. And at the very top, 11,683 - 0.1% of the total - had so-called golden State pensions of more than 10,000 euros a month.