Fabian Demicoli

European Commission Green Paper on Pension Reform

 Employability and increasing people's chances to be employed have been deemed as the most important factors for pension sustainability and security as the developed world is moving towards the reality of 1.5 workers sustaining each pensioner, compared to the current 4.

 

Introducing the meeting of MEUSAC's Core Group held on July 30, to which GRTU President Paul Abela attended, that discussed the Green Paper on Pension reform recently issued by the European Commission, Minister for Education, Employment and the Family, Dolores Cristina, said that Malta positively welcomed the Green Paper which sets out guidelines for pension reform without proposing a ‘one size fits all' scenario. Therefore, Member States are free to take the needed decisions relevant to their society.

The Green Paper entitled ‘Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems' reviews the European pension framework in a holistic and integrated manner, benefiting from synergies across economic and social policy and financial market regulation. As a result, various topics are mentioned in the Green Paper such as longer working lives, the internal market for pensions, mobility of pensions across the EU, gaps in EU regulation, the future solvency regime for pension funds, the risk of employer insolvency, informed decision making and governance at EU level.

Minister Cristina emphasised that Malta has already commenced its own pension reform, which, after an adequate consultation period with all interested parties, came up with a reform plan which is being implemented gradually after having taken into account sustainability and pension security.

The Minister said that Malta is therefore in sync with the Commission's Green Paper which seeks to reform pensions systems for them to be adequate, sustainable and safe.

The Director General of the Department for Social Policy, Mr. Joe Camilleri and Mr. Godwin Mifsud from the Ministry for the Economy, Finance and Investment delivered a presentation on the current situation of pensions in Europe and the principal themes found in the proposed Green Paper.

This was followed by a discussion with members making a number of points such as how one can measure an adequate pension as well as various comments on what should be done to remove barriers to employment for various sectors of society.

Mr. David Spiteri Gingell, Chairperson of the national Pensions Woking Group said that according to the World Bank, an adequate pension is that of 40% of the average salary within a country. He also emphasised that the key to sustainability is to increase the participation rate in the employment market, thus removing barriers to employment that certain groups such as women, immigrants and minorities face.

The European Commission's consultation period on the Green Paper will end on November 15, 2010. Information: MEUSACNews

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