Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment Council : Consensus on Need to Raise Retirement Age

Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment Council : Consensus on Need to Raise Retirement Age

Article excerpt

The white paper on the future of pensions, to be presented in September 2011, will support the idea of raising effective retirement age. Eight months after the publication of a green paper on adequate, sustainable and safe pensions in Europe, Commissioner Laszlo Andor (employment and social affairs) assures that there is consensus on this response among respondents.

"The responses to the consultation and discussions by the social affairs ministers concur on the need to raise retirement age. There are numerous arguments in favour of a link between retirement age and life expectancy, which means that member states that have not yet adapted their statutory retirement age will have to do so soon," declared the Hungarian commissioner after the Employment Council, on 7 March. The ministers adopted conclusions in support of restricting early retirement schemes and adapting pension entitlement to the evolution of life expectancy. According to the commissioner, the competitiveness pact' to be debated at the European Council also demonstrates the determination of the eurozone countries to do more together and should serve as an example. That pact addresses the question of retirement age, noting that it should either be linked to life expectancy, as supported by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, or be set at age 67, as Berlin seems to have proposed.

Among other converging views, respondents voice a preference for improvement of the European pension framework over its extension. France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia and Malta, moreover, voiced support for reinforcement of the open method of coordination' (OMC) in their comments in Council. Many respondents also note that pension reform schemes should be combined with active policies on labour markets, lifelong learning actions, outstanding social security and health care systems and improved working conditions. …

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