Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has recently proposed to put an end to the so-called Quota 100 pension measure, which he himself had endorsed just over a year ago with the previous government majority.
Among the reasons given for this choice are possible savings with regard to expenditure (though clearly to the detriment of Italian citizens) and the need to comply with EU recommendations.
On 28 September 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Silvia Sardone of the Identity and Democracy Group raised a parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Sardone asked the Commission “has it recommended or suggested that the Italian Government abolish its ‘Quota 100’ measure?” and “in its recommendations relating to the financing of the Recovery Fund, is there any call to take action on pensions?”
The Italian MEP enquired “will Italy have to comply with any constraints in terms of pensions and employment in order to benefit from the Recovery Fund?”
On 27 November, these questions were answered by Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, responsible for Jobs and Social Rights who responded on behalf of the European Commission. Commissioner Schmit reported that “in July 2019, the Council recommended that Italy takes action to ‘implement fully past pension reforms to reduce the share of old-age pensions in public spending and create space for other social and growth-enhancing spending’”. He added that “according to the Council’s recommendation, the 2019 budget and the decree law implementing the new early retirement scheme in 2019, accessible until 2021, backtrack on elements of past pension reforms and its extension could bring a risk of worsening the sustainability of public finances in the medium term”.
As regards the recovery package, Commissioner Schmit explained that “Member States will prepare their national recovery and resilience plans in line with the Recovery and Resilience Facility Regulation (still under negotiations by the co-legislators) and the accompanying Commission guidelines, ensuring, in particular, that the plans are consistent with the Country Specific Recommendations of 2019 and 2020, and contribute to the green and digital transitions”. He also clarified that “the plans are also required to boost growth, foster job creation and reinforce the economic and social resilience of the Member States” and that “the assessment of these plans will be approved by the Council by a qualified majority vote on a proposal by the Commission”.
The Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner underlined that “the plans need to reflect a substantive reform and investment effort that will quick start and support the economic recovery” and “both reforms and investments should adequately address the challenges in the individual Member State”. Lastly, he declared that “the plans should provide an explanation of how the country-specific recommendations are addressed by the proposed measures” and “there are no general constraints concerning measures in the areas of pensions and employment”.
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