DGV, the European Commission (EC) directorate for employment, industrial relations and social affairs, has warned against the damaging role of early retirement options within supplementary pension schemes, which it says: “make it far too easy for employers, unions and workers to shift labour market problems onto pension schemes”.
In a recently adopted communication by the EC, DGV argues that the expansion of Europe’s pension funding base should come through higher employment rates, not necessarily through the promotion of supplementary pension schemes, as argued by DGXV.
A spokesperson for DGV, says: “We have a view here at DGV on social protection, and one of our concerns involves the promotion of supplementary pensions within the Commission.
“We don’t think this is our role and believe our responsibility is to provide a secure European environment for pensions and to take appropriate measures within the single market context.
“The promotion of supplementary pensions is not our job, but there has been a tendency towards this in DGXV.”
The communication argues that the only way Europe can solve its demographic problem and ensure the sustainability of pension provision is by reversing the ‘early retirement trend’.
“By enabling and motivating workers to work longer and to opt for a later and more gradual exit from labour markets, we can reduce pension costs, raise extra revenue and get a larger productive input to growth,” the communication says. It suggests that part-time retirement programmes based on collective agreements and government supported programmes could be one way of bridging the gap between effective retirement and statutory pension ages.
The uncertainty surrounding the appointment of new commissioners will, however, be resolved this month.
A DGXV spokesperson, comments: “EC president Romano Prodi has asked for nominations to be in from the members states by July 9.
“Prodi has also said he doesn’t want any of the horse trading that has happened in previous Commissions about who gets which portfolios, and he is looking to settle this issue at the time of the nomination. “The first informal meeting of the new commission team is due to be held on July 16 - so we will know then who is heading up the financial services directorate, ending the current confusion.”