Even the Italian socialists have to admit the obvious:
Rome, October 24 - The government will reform Italy's pension system next year, in a move to resolve structural problems which are slowing down the economy, Premier Romano Prodi said on Tuesday.
....In the multi-year economic blueprint released in July the government announced that the pension reform would have been included in the 2007 budget.
But Prodi was forced to scrap the idea amidst strong resistance from trade unions and leftist members of his coalition.
The premier said on Tuesday he was confident that the reform would be implemented by March 31.
But comments by trade union leaders and even from some cabinet members indicated that he may face an uphill battle.
....Trade unions are already protesting plans to raise the retirement age from 57 to 60 starting in January 2008 under a controversial reform passed by the previous government. The minimum retirement age is then set to rise to 61 in 2010.
....International organisations are also pressuring the government to push ahead with structural pension reforms, noting that the country's 'grey army' has swelled to some 11.5 million, or almost 20% of the population .