Michael Hüther, director of the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, told daily Rheinische Post's Wednesday edition that “if we have a look at the higher life expectancy and the falling birthrate in Germany, the pension at 70 has to come into perspective.”
The institute is considered to be aligned with employers, suggesting the business community could be embarking on a campaign to raise the retirement age further, even as a political battle has erupted over the existing plan to raise it from 65 to 67.
Recently, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have called for the planned hike in the statutory retirement age to be put on hold to prevent “pension cuts.”
This is despite the fact that the SPD helped engineer the rise from 65 to 67 under the former “grand coalition” government in 2006.
SPD head Sigmar Gabriel has warned that raising the pension age without increasing the employment quota for people aged more than 60 would be “tantamount to a pension cut.”
He pointed out that when the law was passed it allowed for a review of the measure based on current job market statistics. He has demanded more flexibility for retirees to "fade-out" of their working life.
His remarks have been fiercely rejected by the ruling centre-right coalition of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats.