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Zapatero seeks agreement with Rajoy over increase in pensionable age

Source: El Pais - Thu 30th Dec 2010

With Spain's next general election on the horizon, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and opposition Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy today pledged to seek agreement on issues that will have repercussions for Spanish citizens long after both politicians have stepped away from public office.

Zapatero was speaking at the Moncloa Palace, and adressed the need to make extra effort to find common ground with the PP on reforms to the financial sector and the pensions system. The PM said he has spoken with Rajoy often during this legislature and said that "if it is necessary to talk more, then I will talk more," in order to push ahead with the government's plans for pension reform.

Similarly, Rajoy has commented how he will do all he can this year to ensure that common goals are met.

"I will work so that Spaniards will pay as little as possible in the future for the current situation," He commented. The leader of the opposition is firmly behind reform to Spain's financial system, above all the consolidation of the Cajas. But while he supports pension reform in general, Rajoy's bone of contention lies in the increase in retirement age from 65 to 67.

With regards to extending the pensionable age, Rajoy stressed that this must be "with incentives from 65 years upward."

Zapatero stated during his address that the increase in the retirement age would come into effect in 2027. The cross-party Toledo Pact on Wednesday approved 21 recommendations on pension reform to present to the government, but did not reach consensus on the issue of retirement age. Congress is due to convene on January 25 to ratify the commission's findings.

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