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Europe slowly making workers retire later

Stephen Beard Jun 16, 2010

by Stephen Beard

Europeans tend to retire several years earlier than Americans — eight years earlier on the case of Greece and Italy. But as people live longer, the cost of taxpayer-funded pensions threatens to spiral out of control. Governments around Europe, including the French, have begun pushing up the age of retirement.

“The Greeks have one of the longest life expectancies in the wortld, yet their average retirement age remains well under 60,” says Simon Tilford, who analyses the European economy for the Center of European Reform.

The change to a longer working life has been underway in Europe for several years. But now, the process is speeding up. Tilford says raising the retirement age is a very good way of dealing with the crisis over public debt. It should convince investors that a government’s finances are on the right track, but it won’t take cash out of the economy now and jeopardise Europe’s fragile recovery.

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