EU could block member’s plans to reverse state pension age rises

Poland’s ruling party looks set for a clash with the European Union (EU) over plans to reverse the equalisation of retirement ages for men and women.

Poland’s conservative and right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which won the 2015 election, pledged during the campaign to undo reforms to equalise the retirement age for men and women, according to a Reuters report.

The retirement age for men and women is being raised to 67 but the ruling PiS party wants to put in place new retirement ages of 60 for women and 65 for men, the report said.

The country’s deputy prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the Catholic Trwam news programme: ‘What we propose reflects not only social expectations but also different roles for women, different roles for men.’

However plans to reverse the changes to the retirement age could be stopped by the EU, as they could be ‘incompatible’ with the EU’s laws, a letter from the European Commission to the Polish government said.

‘Equal treatment between women and men is a key pillar on which our Union is based,’ Vera Jourova, justice, consumer and gender equality commissioner and employment and social affairs commissioner, Marianne Thyssen, wrote in a letter to Poland’s labour minister, Elzbieta Rafalska.

‘The Commission has concerns about the changes in the Polish statutory pension system which might be incompatible with EU law,’ the letter said, according to Reuters.

The letter added a long-term exemption for Poland over gender inequality in retirement age was not possible.

Last month the UK government announced it was going ahead with plans to raise the state pension age (SPA) to 68 by 2046 for both men and women.

This comes at the same time that the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign is pushing for ‘transitional arrangements’ for those women affected by the rise in women’s SPA as part of its equalisation under the 2011 Pensions Act.

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