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Commission takes legal action against Greece on discriminatory pension age

28/01/2010 Commission takes legal action against Greece on discriminatory pension age

The European Commission has on 28 January 2010 sent a "letter of formal notice" to Greece over the country's failure to take concrete measures following a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling last year on the pensionable age for civil servants (case C-559/07).

The Court found that current Greek provisions, which include differences in the pensionable age for male and female civil servants, violate the principle of equal pay. The Commission has therefore initiated infringement proceedings.

Equal pay for women and men is enshrined in Article 157 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In the context of occupational pensions it means that pensionable ages have to be the same for women and men.

On 26 March 2009, the ECJ ruled that Greece's civil and military service pension scheme, an occupational scheme established by Presidential Decree n° 166/2000 of 3rd July 2000, is discriminatory in that it applies different pensionable ages to women and men. In general, under the Greek scheme it is necessary to complete at least 25 years of service before being able to retire. However, female public servants and women working in military service are treated differently. For example, married women and women with children are allowed to retire earlier.

As Greece has not yet taken the necessary measures to comply with this judgment of the European Court of Justice, the Commission has sent to Greece a letter of formal notice as provided in Article 260 TFEU.