Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Security : Working More and Longer to Save Pensions

Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Security : Working More and Longer to Save Pensions

Article excerpt

The European Commission, presenting its green paper on the future of pensions, on 7 July, played it safe: this document represents a starting point and must be fleshed out by the different stakeholders. The Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Laszlo Andor, refused to make any subjective comments on the options advocated by the EU executive. "The aim is to highlight the complexity and gravity of the situation for pension systems and to suggest possible solutions."

At issue are: 1. the balance between work and retirement; 2: mobility; and 3. the security of pensions. What emerges as a leitmotif is certainly the option of encouraging the member states to make their citizens work "more and longer". While he rejects the idea of a uniform increase in retirement age to 70, as some rumours suggest, Andor defends a gradual but long-term adjustment. "The choice we face is poorer pensioners, higher pension contributions or more people working more and longer. We prefer an inclusive solution that improves the employment rate for both older and young workers." The green paper sets out different ideas on balance between time spent working and time spent in retirement: the automatic adjustment of pensionable age based on future gains in life expectancy seems to represent a promising solution. Flexible working arrangements through telework and upgrading of skills would also help to keep workers in the workplace longer, thus improving the balance.

The different stakeholders have until 15 November to submit their views to the Commission. The green paper is expected to lead to both political decisions and legislative proposals. This could include revision of Directive 2003/41/EC on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision, which currently excludes certain occupational schemes from its scope, or of Directive 2008/94/EC on the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer. …

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