Pension Reform: serious issue to be tackled

The European Parliament’s Employment Committee gave their response to the European Commission’s strategy on pensions today. The Alliance for Democracy group (ALDE) highlights the fact that Member States economies are interdependent and that the future sustainability of pension systems should be taken into account in the framework of macro economic surveillance, nonetheless it is very clear that Member States retain full responsibility for the organisational set-up of their own pension systems.

Marian Harkin (Independent, Ireland) ALDE Coordinator for the Employment Committee spoke after the vote.

“While the Commission strategy does not make any specific policy proposals, it seeks view on possible future actions at European level and lays down a number of priorities to modernise pension’s policy in the EU.”

One important issue tackled was the gender inequality regarding pensions.

“I am pleased that we comprehensively tackled the issue of the present adequacy gaps in pensions between men and women largely due to persistent inequalities in the labour market. These include issues such as periods of unemployment, sickness, care duties and the overrepresentation of women in precarious and part time jobs. My committee calls on the Commission and the Member States to eradicate these inequalities and ensure equal treatment with respect to pensions.”

The report does not favour harmonisation of the statutory retirement age.

“We ask Member States – Harkin continued – to actively debate with social partners and others a possible linkage between statutory retirement age and life expectancy”.

To debate this issue further, ALDE will hold a seminar on “Pension Reform: Make or break” on Thursday 10 February 2011 at 9h00 in room PHS 4B001 in the European Parliament with the participation of Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader and Laszlo Andor, Employment Commissioner.


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