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No intention to raise pension age to 67, minister says

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Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou

It is not the government’s intention to extend the retirement age to 67, Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said on Friday, announcing the start of talks on the reform of the pensions system.

The minister was responding to reports suggesting the government planned to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.

“The reality is I was before the House labour committee and I was asked what the government’s position was regarding the actuarial reduction when someone retires at 63,” the Emilianidou said.

The provision was passed in 2012 as Cyprus teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in a bid to ensure the viability of the social insurance fund.

It stipulates that if someone retires at the age of 63 – 24 months before the age of 65 – the total deductible amount would be 24 times 0.5, or 12 per cent in total.

“I said that in the 2012 law there is a provision, which, depending on life expectancy the retirement date moves further,” the minister said. “These references were a historical review about what the law says today.”

Emilianidou said it was not an intention expressed by the government.

“When you state the real facts, what is included in a law, it does not mean this is the intention of the government, nor, as I have seen in some reports, that the government will extend the retirement age to 67. It is not in the intentions of the government.”

Emilianidou said matters of the social insurance cannot be seen piecemeal and that is why there is the social dialogue.

The labour minister said the government’s aim was to modernise the pension and social insurance system in a bid to tackle existing problems, including ones created by the 12 per cent reduction.

The labour advisory board will convene on July 22 to discuss these matters.

She said she would discuss with the unions whether the 2012 law needed to be amended to get rid of the provision regarding the age of 67.

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