Social Policy : First Pooling of Ideas on Pensions

European Social Policy, October 7, 2010 | Go to article overview

Social Policy : First Pooling of Ideas on Pensions


It was unanimously agreed that the ministerial conference on social security and pensions, held on 7 and 8 September in Liege (Belgium), could not have been better timed. It coincided with the mid-point of the European Commission's consultation on the future of pensions, which will run until 15 November.

Although no clear tendency seemed to emerge on the executive's proposals, the event did draw up an initial state of play through the presentation of available data and the sharing of experiences of the ministers invited to participate. Slovenia, Spain, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Greece were represented at the first day's meeting, focused exclusively on pensions. The Netherlands detailed the information it makes available to citizens, while Slovenia explained how it intends to revamp its system in the coming months. "What struck me was that all the countries stressed the urgency of the situation. They are aware of the need to take action. This confirms the validity of our initiative to launch a wide consultation at European level," commented George Fischer, director for social protection and inclusion at the Commission's DG Employment.

A WELL-BEING OBJECTIVE'

The conference also gave Belgium the opportunity to announce its priorities on pensions. This country will be leading the debate at the forthcoming Councils, on 21 October and 6 November. "At European level, the Belgian Presidency will strive to facilitate the progression from the green paper to a white paper," declared the Belgian Minister for Pensions, Michel Daerden. "It will also propose the idea of aiming for a well-being objective." Daerden has also drafted a green paper on this subject for his country, but it is held up for the moment because the government is operating in caretaker mode. His ambitious target, for both the national and European level, is a pension equivalent to 1,500 (or around 2,000 gross) through widespread use of the second pillar. …

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