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Spain's parliament ratifies pension reform

Source: Reuters - Mon 27th Jun 2011

Spain's parliament ratified a government pension sector reform on Monday, raising the retirement age as one of the reforms to streamline the social security system long-term and meet deficit targets.

The reform, which raises the retirement age to 67 from 65 and was passed by the cabinet at the end of January, is part of a slew of economic measures introduced by Spain's Socialists to reduce fiscal imbalances and improve competitiveness.

The pension sector reform was passed with the backing of the Catalan (CiU) party and with the abstention of the main opposition conservative party, which had said it would not block the bill.

It must now be passed through Spain's upper house of Parliament for full ratification.

Spain's austerity and reform efforts have helped differentiate it from the euro zone's other struggling periphery economies though concerns of contagion, especially from Greece, have pushed debt premiums to near euro-era highs.

The decision on the pension reform follows parliament's vote to amend the wage reform bill June 22, which came close to being rejected outright by legislators and has been roundly criticised by both unions and business groups.

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