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PES to resist EU attempts to weaken public pensions as social network debates ‘risks’ in European Commission Green Paper Belgian Minister for Pensions contributes to debate

Date

13 Oct 2010

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

12 October 2010
 

Leading representatives of socialist and social democratic parties warned that the economic and financial crisis must not lead to weaker pension systems in Europe. Members of the Social Europe Network of the Party of European Socialists (PES) raised concerns about the over-emphasis on age increases and privatisation in the European Commission green paper on pensions. “There is again an unfortunate attempt to primarily focus on privatizing pensions and increasing the statutory pension age in the Member States”, said Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the PES. “The reason for the excessive debts in most Member States is not a lack of reforms in pension systems, but rather the financial and economic crisis. It does not make sense to again punish the citizens who have already suffered so much from the crisis by cutting their pensions”.

 

He continued; “If it is a question of trying to save money by weakening our pension systems there are clear alternatives. We can increase states revenue by introducing a Financial Transaction Tax, green taxes and European bonds. To make this work we must also increase the responsibility of employers to provide their employees with pensions. We hope that green paper responses will reflect this approach.”

 

Michel Daerden, Belgium Minister for Pensions, and part of the current EU Presidency stated that: “The lesson we must learn from the crisis is that strong public pension schemes provide the best guarantee for people to receive a minimum adequate pension once they are retired. Private pensions must continue to play a role as additional pension to achieve the level of well-being. The investments of pension funds in the financial market should be restricted to low-risk products. The transparency of these investments needs to be improved.”

 

Alejandro Cercas, MEP and chairperson of the PES Social Europe Network underlined the need to create more jobs suitable for older workers and to improve working conditions, in order to allow people to work longer. “The main problem is not that older people do not want to work longer, but that they cannot work longer, since there are no suitable jobs for them. We should also adapt the pension age to the sector, and in particular to the severity of working conditions and on the number of years worked.”

 

-ends-

For further information please contact  Brian Synnott (PES Press) on +32 474 98 96 75 (brian.synnott@pes.org)

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