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Pension systems allow people to enjoy a well-deserved retirement after their working life. They are the main source of income for about a quarter of the population, providing good protection against poverty to the majority of older Europeans.


With the share of older people in Europe's population rising fast and low levels of employment, pension systems will find it increasingly difficult to deliver adequate social protection at a reasonable cost.

Being so important for the well-being of Europeans and the sustainability of public finances, pension systems are regarded as a matter of common concern in the EU. The failure of one EU country to reform its pension system can have serious repercussions on others.

Policy responses

In its policy paper An agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions, the Commission sets out the options for national action and EU support, focusing in particular on the need to enable and encourage people to stay in work longer and to save more for their retirement through supplementary pension schemes.

One important policy goal of the EU is to ensure that people are not prevented from acquiring adequate pension rights when they move to live and work in another EU country. Social security coordination plays an important role in this regard. The Commission has also proposed legislation to ensure that mobile workers are not prevented from earning and keeping occupational pension rights.