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European Pensions: Member States will have the lead but EU coordination is necessary. Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP

Date

16 Feb 2011

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

"Safe, adequate and sustainable is the guarantee we wish to give to European citizens on pensions. EU coordination is necessary, particularly for the functioning of the internal market, the EU 2020 Strategy and the Stability and Growth Pact. But Member States will keep the lead," said Ria Oomen-Ruijten, presenting her report on pensions.

Ageing populations in all Member States have put existing retirement systems under massive strain and the financial and economic crisis has only increased this pressure. Unfortunately not all the Member States have put money aside for pensions.

Higher unemployment, slower growth, higher national debt levels and volatility in the financial markets have made it harder for all Member States to deliver on pension promises.

These impacts, on top of the underlying demographic challenge which is now upon us, mean difficult pension reforms can no longer be put off.

Ria Oomen: "Many Member States have already increased the pension age. It is wise to discuss the link between retirement age and life expectancy but a fixed European retirement age is impossible because of the huge differences in life expectancy in Member States."

"On the other hand putting in place measures to encourage the extension of working life, flexibility and adapted pension schemes is something I strongly advocate."

In Member States where employers and employees have saved money the problem is less urgent. However, Ria Oomen emphasised, "stricter solvency is not adequate; good supervision is necessary as well."

"I support the portability of pensions; it should be an employee's right. But at the same time, considering the diversity and complexity of the various systems, conditions for the portability of pension rights should begin only with new contracts and after an in-depth analysis of the consequences."

For further information:
Ria OOMEN-RUIJTEN MEP, Tel: + 33-3-88177863
Eduard Slootweg, EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-475-721280

Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.

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