The Commission publishes a White paper with recommendations for safe and sustainable pensions

The White paper published by the European Commission looks at how the EU and the Member States can work to tackle the major challenges that confront their pension systems. It puts forward a range of initiatives such as create the right conditions so that those who are able can continue working or ensure people who move to another country can keep their pension rights.

The European Commission presented a White paper, coinciding with the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity, in which it proposes some measures at European level to support and complement national pension reforms. Commission stresses that pensions are putting increased financial pressure on national budgets, especially with the added strain of the financial and economic crisis.

In particular, the White Paper proposes to create better opportunities for older workers by calling on the social partners to adapt work place and labour market practices and by using the European Social Fund to bring older workers into work; develop complementary private retirement schemes by encouraging social partners to develop such schemes and encouraging Member States to optimise tax and other incentives; enhance the safety of supplementary pension schemes, including through a revision of the directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) and better information for consumers; make supplementary pensions compatible with mobility, through legislation protecting the pension rights of mobile workers and by promoting the establishment of pension tracking services across the EU; and encourage Member States to promote longer working lives, by linking retirement age with life expectancy, restricting access to early retirement and closing the pension gap between men and women.

The EU can help with legislation on the matters that affect the functioning of internal market, with financial support for helping older workers to stay on the labour market, policy coordination and mutual learning. However, pension systems are largely a competence of Member States. In 2011, 16 member states received a country specific recommendation concerning pensions and a further 5 signed up to pension reforms as part of their Memoranda of Understanding.