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EC tells Italy gender parity can't wait

June 7, 2010 at 4:22 PM

BRUSSELS, June 7 (UPI) -- The European Commission on Monday directed Italy to balance out a discrepancy between retirement ages for men and women on a timetable established in court.

EC Deputy President and Justice Commissioner Viviano Reding rejected a proposal from Italian Welfare Minister Maurizio Sacconi to slowly raise the retirement age for women working in the public sector through 2015.

Instead Reding directed Italy to raise its retirement age for women in the public sector from 60 to 65 by 2012, Ansa reported.

"It seems reasonable to give Italy till January 2012. Democracies must always respect court sentences," Reding said, referring to November's European Court of Justice ruling on the issue.

Sacconi said the Italian government would "evaluate the EC's stance, which we believe is too closely in line with the ECJ's ruling."

Welfare Ministry officials said Italy could be hit with a $22.5 million fine if the country does not comply with the EU standards of gender parity.

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