EUROPEAN UNION – A European plan for pension reform could be put forward for consideration as early as spring 2002, according to the European Council.

At the EU Gothenburg summit (June 15-16), the European Council decided to prepare a progress report on pension harmonisation for the December Laeken council.
Following the Belgian summit decisions on objectives and working methods, the council has set a goal for itself to prepare an initial report on union-wide pensions issues for the spring 2002 council.

In its conclusive announcement at the summit in Sweden, the council says the initial report will be on the basis of a joint report of the social protection committee and the economic policy committee published earlier. The council will also work in line with the Lisbon and Stockholm conclusions on harmonisation of social security.

“ A comprehensive approach is needed to meet the challenges of an ageing society,” says the council.
The statement also endorsed the three broad principles laid down at a pre-summit meeting in Gothenburg: “ Safeguarding the capacity of systems to meet their social objectives, maintaining their financial sustainability and meeting changing societal needs.”

The results of the work will be integrated into the broad economic policy guidelines of the European Commission.