Exploring solutions to Europe’s pension challenges
European Retirement Week, taking place annually in the last week of November, provides a platform for a wide range of stakeholders to debate the future of pensions in Europe and raise citizens' awareness of the need to save for retirement and achieve pension adequacy.
In 2023, in its third iteration, European Retirement Week kicked off with an event on 27 November in Brussels, where the 14 European associations presented key recommendations to EU policymakers to ensure pension adequacy for all.
Commissioners McGuinness and Schmit, EIOPA chair to open European Retirement Week 2022
BRUSSELS, 28 November 2022 – The second edition of European Retirement Week kicks off today with a high-level physical event, featuring:
Keynote speeches by Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability and the Capital Markets Union and Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights.
A discussion with EIOPA chair Petra Hielkema, moderated by Bruegel’s Maria Demertzis.
This second edition of European Retirement Week (28 November – 2 December) is taking place in a context of continued demographic change, which is, in combination with budgetary and economic constraints, putting pressure on pension systems. The fact that societies are facing rising old age poverty rates and persistent social inequality confirms the need to ensure an adequate retirement income for all.
Throughout European Retirement Week, the participating associations are organising events, resulting in a rich programme that touches upon different angles of the pensions challenge. The full programme is available on the new European Retirement Week website.
Participating associations include AGE Platform Europe, Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), BETTER FINANCE, Cross Border Benefits Alliance - Europe (CBBA-Europe), ETS Project Consortium, European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles (INREV), European Association of Paritarian Institutions (AEIP), the European Banking Federation (EBF), The European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA), EFAMA, the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE), Insurance Europe, Invest Europe, PensionsEurope.
The second edition of European Retirement Week kicks off with an in-person launch event on Monday 28 November (at 17h CET).
The event will feature keynote speeches by Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union and Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights. The event will also include a conversation about the pension challenge with EIOPA Chair, Petra Hielkema.
The event takes place at the Thon Hotel EU in Brussels. Register here.
European Retirement Week 2022 will take place from 28 November through to 3 December 2022.
The group of stakeholders behind the initiative jointly promote the two main goals of European Retirement Week: raising awareness of the pension challenge, and serving as a platform for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss possible solutions to ensure that people in Europe can count on adequate and sustainable pensions today and tomorrow.
Demographic changes, combined with rising poverty rates among older persons, heightened environmental risks, and budgetary constraints, are placing severe pressures on pension systems. European Retirement Week was launched amid and in response to this context as a forum for interested parties to share ideas and best practices.
The exact details of the 2022 programme will be published after the summer on a new, dedicated website.
Participating associations: Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), AGE Platform Europe, BETTER FINANCE, Cross Border Benefits Alliance - Europe (CBBA-Europe), ETS Project Consortium, European Association of Paritarian Institutions (AEIP), the European Banking Federation (EBF), EFAMA, the Federation of European Securities Exchanges (FESE), Insurance Europe, Invest Europe, and PensionsEurope.
European Retirement Week kicks off
BRUSSELS, 24 NOVEMBER - The third edition of European Retirement Week kicks off on 27 November with an in-person event in Brussels, during which 14 European associations* will present to EU policymakers key recommendations to strengthen pension adequacy for all in retirement.
This launch will include speeches from Frances Fitzgerald, Member of the European Parliament, Fausto Parente, Executive Director, EIOPA, Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director of Social Rights and Inclusion, European Commission, and Didier Millerot, Head of Unit, Insurance and Pensions, European Commission.
The event starts at 16h30 CET at AXA Belgium (Place du Trone 1, 1000 Brussels).
The launch event is the first in a series of events being organised by the 14 European associations held from 28 November to 1 December. The Week aims to raise awareness of the pension challenge in Europe and explore solutions for the future. The full programme of events is available here.
The 14 European associations involved in the Week include:
European associations set out recommendations to ensure pension adequacy for all
Frances Fitzgerald, Member of the European Parliament, Fausto Parente, Executive Director, EIOPA, Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director of Social Rights and Inclusion, European Commission, Didier Millerot, Head of Unit, Insurance and Pensions, European Commission participated in the event.
The recommendations contribute to the debate on how to strengthen and ensure affordable and sustainable pension systems in the EU. As the old-age dependency ratio — the number of people aged 65 and over relative to those aged 20 to 64 — is expected to double between 2023 and 2080, there is an urgent need to address pension protection gaps and ensure pension adequacy for all.
European Association of Paritarian Institutions: Ensure and promote the paritarian model, which entails social protection institutions established and managed by employers and trade unions through collective agreements, as an integral part of designing and implementing occupational social protection policies. Paritarian institutions leverage collective mechanisms to enhance coverage and the attainment of pension adequacy for all.
Association for Financial Markets in Europe: Put the interests of end investors at the heart of Europe’s secondary markets by advancing the Capital Markets Union project and providing deep pools of liquidity that reduce the cost of transactions for pension fund asset managers and other investors.
AGE Platform Europe: Pensions must ensure income for a life in dignity for the entire lifespan. Statutory pensions must fairly compensate for the contributions of persons during their prime years, ensure gender equality and solidarity for life events via pension credits for childcare, informal care, unemployment, sickness, disability or other types of exclusion from the labour market. Pensions must guarantee economic security as people age through regular and automatic adaptations to the evolution of living costs and incomes.
BETTER FINANCE: In its annual report on the real return of long-term and pension-saving products, Better Finance provides evidence that many products on the market are already failing to ensure pension adequacy, placing many pension savers at risk of not meeting their individual retirement objectives. Better Finance stresses the need for access to unbiased advice, products that provide value for money, cost reduction measures across all products, standardised disclosure of information on actual costs and past performance, and the promotion of a culture of long-term financial planning.
Cross-Border Benefits Alliance-Europe: Promote funded pensions and make pay-as-you-go first-pillar pensions less burdensome and costly in terms of contributions, especially for young generations.
European Banking Federation: Financial literacy is pivotal to ensuring the well-being of people. From a very early stage, citizens must be equipped with sound financial skills to recognise the importance of personal finance and pension planning. Financial education stands at the core of Europe’s way forward for a strong, resilient and future-proof society.
European Fund and Asset Management Association: The priority should be to encourage people to supplement their public pensions through occupational pension schemes and personal pension products, notably by developing pension-tracking systems to inform citizens about the income they can expect in retirement, offering adequate tax incentives for retirement savings, implementing auto-enrolment mechanisms and amending the pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) to address the problems posed by the fee cap and the design of the risk-mitigation techniques.
European Public Real Estate Association: Facilitate the growth of pension funds by removing administrative, fiscal and regulatory barriers to cross-border investments in the real economy. Provide retirement security to EU citizens by creating a single market for stable and highly competitive pension fund investment vehicles such as listed real estate.
European Tracking Service Association: Help people and especially mobile workers understand their pension rights and facilitate access to their pension entitlements, for instance by increasing transparency about pensions and increasing awareness.
Federation of European Securities Exchanges: Empower retail investors to participate in EU capital markets by providing wide access to financial products that match their needs and offering long-term investment opportunities that will help EU citizens to afford an appropriate retirement.
European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles: Ensure pension funds and insurers efficiently finance the decarbonisation of the built environment while generating the financial returns needed to fund their retirement obligations.
Insurance Europe: Revise the Solvency II framework so that insurers can offer suitable long-term savings products, giving European citizens reassurances about their future pension. Insurers are willing to offer the protection people are looking for, be it in the form of guarantees or protection, but are only able to do so if key conditions are met.
Invest Europe: Venture capital and private equity investments are not the only essential elements to help achieve the best possible returns for the retirements of pension- and insurance-holders. As Europe’s population continues to age, a holistic approach is needed to address the challenges and opportunities, with the active involvement of investors, innovators, regulators and end-users from the silver generation to deliver substantial and innovative solutions for better services and systems.
Pensions Europe: Ensure that the IORP II review remains a framework for minimum harmonisation and that the specificities of pension funds are considered in horizontal regulation.
About the European Week of Retirement
The launch event is the first in a series of events being organised during the third annual European Retirement Week. The Week is organised by 14 European associations from 28 November to 1 December, where discussions focus on the pension challenge in Europe and explore solutions, whilst raising awareness of the need to save for retirement.
The full programme of events is available here.