Pensions, Italy and France compared: what are the differences?

The same problem, the sustainability of the system, but reforms that start from different situations

In Italy the new pension reform it’s not there yet and, above all, there isn’t the money to do it. Because we are talking about measures that have a cost, having to compensate, hopefully in a structural way, the drastic measures of a reform already made, with the Fornero law. In France there is a pension reform but it has been met with massive street protests. And it essentially serves to save resources. The problem is the same, the sustainability of the system in the face of a generalized aging of the population, but the starting points and the likely arrival points are different.

Both countries find themselves having to deal with the basic need to raise the retirement age and increase the pool that feeds social security contributions. The substantial difference is that Italy has made several pension reforms, above all the Fornero law imposed by the extraordinary emergency experienced in 2011 for the public accounts. And that the retirement age, at the moment, is higher than in France. The main issues brought to the discussion table that began yesterday with the social partners concern the specific measures for women and the knot linked to young people, with the need to make retirement criteria structural, putting an end to the long season of necessary ‘corrections’ to cushion the impact of the drastic acceleration triggered by the Fornero.

France, on the other hand, is faced with the stumbling block of a substantial reform, so far attempted several times but never implemented, with the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64, which is also accompanied by the anticipation from 2035 to 2027 the number of years needed to retire and the abolition of some special pension schemes.

The comparison between different countries and social security systems can be made by taking into account several parameters. The first, the most obvious and the most frequently talked about is that relating to the old-age pension. Current photography says that in Italy the required age requirement is 66 years and 7 months, with the exception of women in the private sector for whom a lower threshold of 65 years and 7 months is envisaged. In France, until today, it is possible to retire at the age of 62. Another parameter is that of the effective retirement age, which considers all ways to retire, advances and waivers, special managements, and not just old age. According to INPS data, in 2020, the effective retirement age in Italy was 63.8 years. In France, there are 42 different pension schemes, with considerable differences in the benefits and treatments of the individual categories.

Then there are other substantial differences between Italy and France on a more political level. Two, on the others. France does not have the same public debt as Italy and it is not a country, like Italy, which has had to face a major debt crisis. On a social level, the mobilization of which the French trade unions are capable today is not the same as the Italian ones. Twenty years have passed since the gigantic demonstration in defense of article 18 of 2002 and the French squares today have a very different weight compared to the Italian ones. (Of Fabio Insenga)