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Call for EU to prove itself on pensions

ITALY - The Greek member of the European Union’s Social Protection Committee, Platon Tinios, says the EU must prove itself on pensions.

"Pensions are such an important part of the EU social policy that if it does not express itself about it, it might as well not express itself," he told IPE on the sidelines of a conference in Milan.

The EU, he said, must "prove itself" by showing workers it can take actions on their behalf - but the debate must not be "vacuous".

Tinios, who is also a special advisor to the Greek prime minister, said the EU must be a voice on the pension questions, to add consistency between actions and objectives.

In a pan-European pension reality, countries that have achieved more, could act as catalysts for those who remained behind, he said.

Sweden, with its ‘orange envelope’ initiative to inform workers of their pension provision, could be one of the countries to inspire the "laggards".

Tinios said that in the laggard countries, reforms are often postponed and come "by instalments". France could be classified as a laggard while Belgium and Germany were "taking steps". He added that Italy was "a funny case", which takes steps forwards and backwards.

On the way to pension reform, he said, there was a “wide gulf between technocrats and public opinion". "In public discussions, pension schemes are a problem for society, but do not concern anyone in particular.”

Tinios was speaking at the ‘Public and Private Pension System: New Challenges and Strategies for the Welfare State in Europe’ meeting organised by the European Training Centre for Social Affairs and Public Health and Macros Research.

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