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The ongoing wave of pension reforms implemented by EU Member States will help them to achieve more sustainable pension systems and face demographic changes ahead, the European Commission stressed on the occasion of the publication today of the World Bank report "The Inverting Pyramid".
In line with the agenda set out in the February 2012 White Paper on Pensions, Member States have in recent years carried out many reforms to increase the pensionable age and to boost the employment rate of older workers. Such reforms will help them to contain the rise in future costs without endangering the adequacy of pension benefits.
Many of these reforms respond to the Country Specific Recommendations issued within the framework of the European Semester, the EU's yearly cycle for coordinating economic, employment and social policies. Peer pressure has in fact proved to be a powerful tool to encourage Member States to reform their pension schemes and to put in place the necessary measures to enable people to work to higher ages. Policy action has furthermore been directed at limiting inequality among retirees and avoiding pensioner poverty.
Increasing the number of workers in the labour force also means tackling current levels of youth unemployment. This is why the Commission has proposed the Youth Guarantee scheme, which Member States must urgently implement. Ensuring that young people are fully integrated in the work force will be crucial to bolster economic dependency ratios and enable today’s young people to build up sufficient pension rights of their own.
On the 26th of March, the European Commission will organise a major conference on pensions in Brussels. Olli Rehn, Commission Vice-President responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, and Commissioner Andor will review, together with key stakeholders, the achievements since the White Papers on pensions, as well as further actions needed to ensure that adequate and sustainable pensions can be delivered in our ageing societies.