13 July 2012
Pensions and youth employment:
EESC seeks a delicate balance
On Thursday 12 July, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted two opinions on sensitive topics that are at the heart of the debate across Europe: the future of the pension systems and employment for young people. In both cases, the Committee reached a compromise solution and thus established its position for the future debate on two issues that are so vital to the idea of social Europe.
The EESC opinion on the European Commission's White Paper for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions, drafted by rapporteur Petru Dandea (Workers' Group, Romania) together with co-rapporteur Krzysztof Pater (Various' Interests Group, Poland), considers carefully the range of proposals set out in the Commission document on how Member States can reform their pension systems. This is a particularly sensitive issue, and ties in closely with growth and employment policies.
The Committee expresses its concern that many countries are responding to the crisis in pension systems by cutting expenditure on pensions and raising the statutory retirement age. In doing so, they are merely postponing the problem to the near future, while cuts in pension benefits are already exposing many pensioners to poverty. That said, the Committee agrees with the Commission's idea of extending working life and feels action is needed to remove the obstacles facing those who want to keep working beyond the legal retirement age.
The EESC also deplores the lack of attention given to public pension systems, which need to be strengthened as an important component of the social security net. It recognises the role played by complementary private retirement schemes, provided that they are guaranteed and protected, both against speculation and against the mismanagement of savings. Finally, it recommends that standards on minimum pensions or pension income protection mechanisms be included in future legislation to protect pensioners and avoid major social problems.
In the second opinion, drafted by Mr Tomasz Jasiński (Workers' Group, Poland), the EESC welcomes the Commission's Youth Opportunities Initiative and expresses its willingness to play a part in promoting and implementing it. The Committee notes however that the EU's austerity policy and the lack of a clear and generally recognised growth policy could jeopardise the success of this new proposal, making it vital to put in place an appropriate economic and financial environment. The creation of new, high-quality jobs must remain a priority.
The Youth Opportunities initiative - with its focus on young people who are not in employment, education or training - can represent a source of new opportunities but will not create any new jobs without adequate economic and financial support. Hence Mr Jasiński's suggestion that a European Youth Employment Strategy be adopted as part of the 2014-2020 financial perspective in order to ensure the availability of resources for young people under the European Social Fund. Finally the opinion calls on Member States to implement the Youth Guarantee properly, so as to ensure that young people are in a job, education or training within four months of leaving school.
For more information, please contact
Karin Füssl, Head of the Press Unit
Tel.: +32 2 546 8722
European Economic and Social Committee
Rue Belliard 99, 1040 Bruxelles, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 546 8207 – Fax: +32 2 546 9764
To edit or cancel your subscription to the EESC mailing list, click the following link:
Les informations contenues dans ce message et/ou ses annexes sont réservées à l'attention et à l'utilisation de leur destinataire et peuvent être confidentielles.
Si vous n'êtes pas destinataire de ce message, vous êtes informé que vous l'avez reçu par erreur et que toute utilisation en est interdite.
Dans ce cas, vous êtes prié de le détruire et d'en informer l'émetteur.
The information in this message and/or attachments is intended solely for the attention and use of the intended recipient and may be confidential.
If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you are hereby notified that you have received it in error and that any use of it is prohibited.
In such a case, please delete this message and kindly notify the sender accordingly.