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IPE special report May 2018

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Euro-zone ministers to discuss benchmarking pension systems

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Euro-zone finance ministers aim to agree a plan to benchmark member state pension systems when they meet next week.

The Eurogroup, an informal body bringing together ministers of the euro area, will next meet on 20 March, and is due to discuss the sustainability of member states’ pension systems.

“Ministers will look into the possibility of introducing benchmarking in this policy area, and will discuss the choice of indicators and the frequency of reporting,” according to a statement from the group.

The goal is to agree “the modalities of a benchmarking exercise”, it added.

The debate about benchmarking will be based on a recent analysis carried out by the European Commission, according to the statement.

It would be the ministers’ third round of discussions on pension sustainability in the euro area. The first was in December 2015, when the group identified “putting pension systems on a sustainable path” as a policy priority, given an ageing population and other developments.

In June last year the group adopted a set of common principles for strengthening the fiscal sustainability of pension systems and invited the Commission to come up with appropriate benchmarks, based on the common principles.

The Eurogroup usually meets once a month, on the eve of a meeting of EU economics and finance ministers.

Other topics due to be on the agenda of next week’s meeting include a review of macroeconomic reforms in Greece and euro area countries’ annual debt issuance plans.

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