EUROPE - Pension funding requirements will be determined in future not by retirement ages but rather the 'economic dependency ratio', according to a European advisory body.

Speaking at a meeting of the ministers for labour and social affairs, Leila Kurki, president of the Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship on the European Economic and Social Committee, said tightening pension conditions, weakening pension rights or raising the statutory retirement age would not help resolve unemployment among older generations.

"It has to be borne in mind that future pension funding needs will not be determined by the demographic ratio," she said.

"The decisive factor is rather trends in the economic dependency ratio, or in the ratio of people receiving benefits to people in employment."

"If the labour market participation rate of people of working age can be effectively increased across the EU over the next few decades, then it will be possible to contain the increase in the economic dependency ratio."

She pointed out that if the aim was to raise the retirement age, it would also be necessary to ensure people were able and willing to work for longer.

"Jobs must be designed so people are able to work at least up to the statutory retirement age," Kurki said.

The announcement comes at a time when the European Commission is seeking to implement new reform in the pension system.

Earlier this year, the European Commission launched a Green Paper that aims to improve corporate governance.

EU pension-related policies include, among other things, the creation of a new authority to supervise workplace pensions and the reforms of the IORP Directive and the Stability and Growth Pact.