12/04/2011 06:12 pm ET

Elsa Fornero, Italy Welfare Minister, In Tears Over Austerity Sacrifices

ROME (Reuters / December 4) - Italy's welfare minister Elsa Fornero was reduced to tears at a news conference on Sunday as she outlined tough reforms to pensions contained in the government's plan to regain control of strained public finances and help solve Europe's debt crisis.

Under the austerity plan unveiled on Sunday, Italy will raise the minimum pension age for women and men to 66 by 2018, and will scrap annual inflation adjustments for many pensions.

"We had to... and it cost us a lot psychologically... ask for a..." Fornero said, but was unable to complete her sentence as she wiped tears from her eyes.

Prime Minister Mario Monti finished the sentence for her, speaking the word "sacrifice" that she'd been unable say.

(Reporting By Catherine Hornby; Editorial Michael Roddy)

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