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Responsibility and consequences: the transformation of the Spanish pension system

As one of the European countries with a significantly high national debt, Spain has been forced to adopt measures to stabilise its economy and safeguard its financial future. Spain has taken the view that the German pension policy can be an effective role model and they too plan to extend the working lives of their citizens and raise the pensionable age. By 2013, for the first time, Spanish citizens will be legally allowed to retire at the age of 67, two years later than the law currently allows. By 2025, the whole Spanish population will work until the age of 67. This step serves as a signal against the high debts of Spain. The country aims at remaining competitive and wants to have an independent steady financial position without having to depend on subsidies from the European Union finance package. Spanish politicians support these measures, whereas unionists and employees recently began to initiate strike action. One of their requirements to agree with the governmental plans is that employees who have already worked for 38.5 years should still be allowed to retire at the age of 65. German chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly stated that every European country, whether highly indebted or not, has to make an effort regarding saving money and stabilising Europe’s financial situation, and that Germany is willing to go ahead as a role model with its policy. As the member countries of the European Union are strongly connected, this seems a good example of an area in which they should share ideas to pursue their common interests, supporting each other, particularly in cases where, like Spain, governments are making a major effort to deal with their financial issues. VANESSA HORN

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