Polish president proposes cutting retirement age

Polish president proposes cutting retirement age
Poland's President Andrzej Duda
PHOTO: Reuters

WARSAW - Polish president Andrzej Duda proposed on Monday to cut the retirement age in a draft bill sent to parliament for debate, a move which could unravel the ruling coalition's pension reforms.

Backed by Poland's main opposition party Law and Justice (PiS), Duda was a surprise winner of this year's presidential ballot. He had included cutting the retirement age among his main election pledges.

Some voters had criticised Duda's predecessor Bronislaw Komorowski for approving a law in 2012 that would gradually increase the retirement age to 67. "This bill reinstates the retirement age at 60 for women and 65 years for men," Duda said at a news conference. "If someone reaches the retirement age and wants to take a pension he or she can, but they can also continue to work if they seek further professional fulfilment." As president, Duda can veto government bills and propose his own legislation. He is also head of the armed forces and has a say in foreign policy.

Duda's proposal could become law if his PiS party wins next month's general election as polls suggest, but would likely face opposition in the current parliament, controlled by the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party.

Economists warn that Poland cannot afford lowering the legal retirement age because of strained public finances and low birth rates.

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