[Brussels, 16 February 2012] The proposed agenda is a good step in the right direction but for it to deliver, these EU initiatives will need to be supported by a stronger agenda for quality job creation, financial markets regulation and a care economy.
AGE Platform Europe, European Women’s Lobby (EWL) and European Youth Forum (YFJ) welcome the long-awaited White Paper on Pensions, in particular its holistic approach which anchors the objective of pension adequacy, safety and sustainability to the core of the European Annual Growth Survey. We are pleased to see that it includes a strong focus on the need to address gender equality and the gender dimension of labour market participation and its impact on pension income, the promotion of longer working lives through active ageing and solidarity between generations, access to lifelong learning, healthy ageing and better health and safety at work, adaptation of the workplace to older workers’ needs, more flexible working conditions and opportunities for phased retirement, reflecting the main findings of the recent Eurobarometer on active ageing¹.
However the proposed initiatives to enhance the role of complementary private savings in ensuring an adequate, safe and sustainable old age income must be more ambitious on ensuring the safety of pension savings, a crucial issue in today’s economic context. Tackling some specific issues around complementary private retirement savings is necessary but not enough to address the concerns of millions of workers and retired women and men across the EU who have seen their private savings erode as a result of financial markets turmoil.
In the last few months, Member States have discovered how interdependent their economies are and know very well now that they can no longer guarantee on their own the adequacy, safety and sustainability of their national pension systems. This is why the proposal agenda on pensions needs to be supported by a stronger agenda for quality job creation including the development of the care economy as well as serious action at EU level to regulate the financial markets and make them serve the economy and the wellbeing of citizens. It is crucial that a sustainable and long-term strategy to guarantee balanced financing of the pension schemes to be based on increasing the young entrants in the labour market and not only on prolonging the pension age. Finally another important point missing in the White Paper is the need to introduce transitional measures over time to ensure that the effort will be fairly spread between generations. The objective of financial sustainability should go hand in hand with social sustainability.
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