Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 8

THE matters enunciated in the title have turned into a constant element in the economic articles of the European press. And this, defined as the main challange to face the population ageing, has managed to attract the attention of the politic and economic system. However, this matter urgently requires the speedy intervention of the gouvernments to reduce the incidence of pension and health expenses in the European States’ budgets.


To show this need we could mention the statistical projections concerning life expectancy increase linked to the low birth rate; in fact, it is likely that the percentage relation between the population over 65 and the population aged between 15 and 64, will go up from 25% in 2000 to 36% in 2025 and will exceed by 50% in 2050. In this context, both the current social protection system and the health system are living through a delicate experience, seeing that the population ageing causes an increase in the health expenses.


From these reflexion the need of new long-range reforms arises. These reforms should also include the retirement age rise, the introduction of the private National Insurance with the reduction in the public pension amount, whereas in the health field it is neccessary to redistribute the burden between the public sector, which would  ake over the essential services, and the private sector which would take over the rest.


These measures, which could cause a considerable psychological impact, must be minimized and taken by tax reduction, job creation and economical development.


The EU is working to seek new solutions to answer the ageing challange; the article 2 of the CEE Treaty establishes that “the promotion of a high social protection level” rests with European Union. We have to add tha the monetary union and the need to respect the commitment of keeping “stable and fit” the public finance of all the States converts pensions to a relevant matter, considering their incidence in the balance of some States.


For this reason, the European Board asked a high level Commission to carry out an analysis about the social protection evolution in the long term, with reference to the pension system support in different temporary contexts. The Minister of Social Affairs, Anna Diamatopoulou, presented in the last European Committee on the 21 of march the results of the Commission’s work. The object of the action was to help the member States to undertake reforms to guarantee right and sustained pensions in the long term.


The European Commission has organized its work according to eleven common objectives which provide for all problems related to the social protection: to avoid the elderly exclusion and maintain their standard of living, to promote solidarity between generations and guarantee sustained pensions, to increase the employment rate and extend the working age by the mean of benefits and taxes to restore the economic effetcs between generations, flexible working programmes, equal opportunities regardless of sex, right private pensions and a transparent pension system. The European Union wants to carry on the coordination programme of the different reforms.


Concerning this important matter, our platform, AGE, would like to remind and make it clear that the elderly must be entitled to be listened and to participate in the shape of the global politics as regards pensions and their management. As regards solidarity between generations it was obvious it must be considered as a tacit agreement which allows employees to take over the cost of pensions and the existence of the elderly, in the certain knowledge that they will benefit from the same when they achieve the retirement age; in the opposit direction young people will benefit from the sens of responsability of the elderly, their welfare state and their life conditions reminding that the elderly not only have helped to improve the society and the National Insurance financing, but also they keep on contributing by means of medical care,  orking as social volunteers or communicating their experiences. The increase of life expectancy is a social achievement and an economic progress. The increasing number of healthy active old people is an important achievement for the future. Unfortunately, there still exist social strata who live in poverty and are victims of social exclusion. This is one of the main problems both in the European States and in the candidates.


AGE is certain that, whatever the European model, it must guarantee a pension suited to the social financial security and not only avoid the absolute poverty; this model should develop and keep up with the social welfare not only with the rate of prices seeing that, if we only consider the average income, when we achieve the retirement age it is not enough to guarantee a balance between pension and pay. Therefore, it is necessary to guarantee the access to the pension and the saving system in which the indivudual do not take any risk and pensions are ensured thanks to a transpartent management and valid regulations. It is also important to make women and men pensioners’ rights the same, to allow and encourage the elderly to prolong their working life.


According to numerous documents relating to this matter, my reflexion simply proves the importance of politics and finances in pension matters. As different Associations and Federations, we are also interested in the future since those who follow in our footsteps and our deeds belong to it. Therefore, we are conscious of the present- day and future problems, but we can not forget our current situation as pensioners obliged to live in a limbo where the rights we have achieved seem to be frozen. We think that the solidarity between generations is a one way action. We practised it for our predecessors during our working life and we should practise it for those who are now in the labour market. I believe that AGE’s stance is different but united we stand and more than never we have to be recognized by the gouvernment, politicians and trade unions. We exist and we want our agreements to be respected as it appears in our records. I personally believe we should feel obliged to follow the course of the events not to be caught unprepared while we exercise an intense and complete “lobbing” action in every field where initiatives relating not only to the present situation but also to our families’ future take place.


Franco Salza

President of “Federazione Nazionale Sindacale

delle Associazioni dei Pensionati del Credito”