Merkel ally hits out at German retirement age

GERMANY is moving in the wrong direction on the legal age for retirement and setting a bad example to other European states, according to the country’s own EU commissioner, Gunther Oettinger.

The current coalition government in Germany will allow workers to retire at 63 if they have worked from the age of 18, a compromise made by chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats to assuage their Social Democrat partners.

But Oettinger told a German paper that the country had to think about raising the retirement age to 70, not reducing it. He added that reducing the age sent a bad message to countries like Greece, which have increased their retirement ages as part of reform packages.

Oettinger, who is a member of Merkel’s centre-right party, echoed comments made by former chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who raised the country’s retirement age from 65 to 67.

The German population has more of a demographic challenge than some other EU countries: the country’s birth rate has dropped, and the number of deaths has outstripped the number of children born in every year since 1972.