EESC opinion: Green Paper - Pensions

EESC opinion: Green Paper - Pensions

Key points

The Member States are fully responsible for defining their social security systems. However, a coordinated EU-level approach to pensions can contribute to coherence and ensure that national pension systems are in line with the social and employment pillars of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The Member States should be encouraged to reform national pension schemes for reasons of adequacy, sustainability and security, with strong participation and involvement by the social partners. The reforms should not create inequalities and jeopardise the income of future pensioners.

The EU should fulfil its supportive role by setting up a structured recovery policy designed to increase quality oriented growth by the means of active labour policy, vocational training, investments and innovation thus promoting the creation of more and decent workplaces.

Projections on demographics should be analysed to allow correct adjustments of pension systems, but they must be used and viewed with care, as many assumptions are hard to predict in the long term. Future proposals should take into account the effects of the crisis linked to the lack of jobs and investment.

Both Pay-As-You-Go and funded schemes are affected by the current economic crisis but in a different way. The EESC believes that Pay-As-You-Go mandatory schemes must continue to play a fundamental role in assuring future pensions and therefore special attention should be devoted to them.

Reforms based on a mere rise in legal retirement age are not a solution as millions of elderly people could be pushed below the poverty line, particularly women. Reforms should focus on increasing the effective retirement age using initiatives to foster extended working life, flanked by effective growth and employment policies and a real "active ageing" policy.

Automatic adjustment mechanisms for retirement age, based on demographic statistics and economic or labour market parameters, are assessed as dangerous for society as a whole and therefore not supported by the EESC.

Pension system must be credible and adequate, which implies searching for and implementing new financial resources in order to guarantee an inter-generational balance.

Pension systems must be transparent, and information and statistics on their functioning as well as on all rights of the participants must be available and understandable.

The EESC urges the Member States and the Commission to make gender equality a reality. Different retirement ages for women and men should be reviewed.