Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 16

Beginning from the end of the years '70 all the most advanced systems of welfare of the European union have reformed the mix of politics on which the national systems of social protection had been built after the 1945. The growth of the global competition, the industrial restructuring, the austerity of budget, the change of the family relationships and the demographic aging have put in discussion the systems of welfare of the age of the gold, once stable and sovereign. Recently, besides, the national matters related to the job and to the welfare have woven more and more with the processes of political and economic integration of Europe. To this intention it is possible to affirm that in the European union it has had beginning an age of welfare systems with limited sovereignty. All these strengths united together have produced a push to the political change and the transformation of the system that it overcomes a lot the common notion of "reorganization" of the welfare. The "new" structure of the welfare suggests the necessity to pass from a notion of social protection whose perspective is dominated by "clash between politics and market" to a notion of social investment based on the perspective of the "meeting between politics and market.”

Beginning from the years '90 the majority of States members of the European union has bravely undertaken a global reform of the system. In States members of the UE the real course of the reorganization of the welfare is reduced to nothing else than a revision of the system. Nevertheless, to deny that the European systems of welfare are sclerotic it doesn't mean to affirm that they are in good health. When there are constantly million of citizens deprived of job and tall levels of juvenile unemployment, especially in greater members States, certainly are not the case to be glad. The welfare state was conceived as answer to the risks of the industrial economy in the framework of the State-nation.

Shortly, the welfare state must be considered as a defective system "in evolution", whose objective, intentions, functions and institutions change in the time, even though with slowness.

To plan and to build a developmental welfare state, needs to adopt an approach that considers the course of life, distinguishing different bands of population. Children, adults in young age, people in age of job, pensioners and people that need assistance. The first question that is put by the approach it is: what combination of services, of support to the income and of measures of activation must be put forward for getting a best social protection and a great participation of these groups.

The reform of the welfare is not a simple trial. The corrective measures are difficult but they are defined and implemented on the ground of the political competition. Besides the reform of the welfare is a political trial strongly reflexive and with high-intensities of knowledge. It follows, in this perspective, that the welfare state must be intended as a system "evolutionary", whose objective, intentions, functions and institutions change in the time, even if in slow and defective way.
In terms of institutional innovation, the European Council in Lisbon has formally recognized the Open Method of coordination as new form of European governance, based on common lines of action to transpose in the national politics, in partnership with periodic monitoring, evaluations and mutual revisions organized as processes of learning and accompanied by indicators used as tools for putting to comparison the best practices.
The assignment of the social and occupational politics systems should be first of all that to sustain the development of every person with proportionate measures to the abilities and the necessities of every, allowing, in such way, to all the individuals to fully express their potentialities. Secondly a key challenge for all the European political economies is that to plan a system of welfare that not only affronts in adjusted way the "new" and the "old" social risks, but above all is able to fully connect such effort with the dynamic economy. The road to improve the social protection in the years to come resides especially in the radical development of the services, among which must be enumerated the education, the health, the care and the development of the infancy, the assistance to the elderly ones, the politics of the house, the transports and the services to the employment. If Europe wants to be competitive in the new society based on the knowledge there is the urgent necessity to invest in human capital for the whole course of life. Two tendencies push us to modify our conception of the retirement: a) the state of health of every following generation of elderly it is better than that preceding, if it is considered that in the actual situation a 65 years-old man can wait to live in health for other 10 years; b) the discrepancy between old age and education it is quickly reducing, so much that in the future the elderly ones will be very more in degree to adapt to the new conditions of the market of the job in comparison to today, with the help of the retraining and the learning along the whole course of the life.

The challenge consists how to distribute the additional expenses that inevitably accompany the aging of the population. Of crucial importance stays the guarantee of a minimum pension, financed by the general tax system and linked to the course of the inflation for the next generation of flexible workers. It will be difficult to get sustainable pensions without raising the rates of occupation of the elderly workers and without raising at least to 67 the age of retirement. To postpone the retirement is as an effective so equitable measure. The flexible retirement and the introduction of incentives to postpone the retirement can mitigate notably the charge of the pensions.

The future of the European welfare state is not predetermined. In the attempt to remedy to the dysfunctions of the politics started in the age of the gold, the national and of the UE political persons responsible seem busy to combine among them elements that originate from different regimes of welfare. The processes of open coordination, with their attention to the "new" rather than to the "old" categories of social risk - particularly the active aging and the delay of the retirement, the employment part-time, the learning along the whole course of life, the parental dismissal, the equal opportunities, the flexicurity (equilibrium between flexibility and security), the reconciliation between job and family life and the social exclusion - they have already assumed a key role to recalibrate the welfare state. In conclusion, the reform of the social politics continues to be an enterprise to face to national level: the reforms must be approved from the elected governments and from the national political parties, preferably with the support of the organized affairs, and realized through nationals administrative structures.


Elderly & society

The Italian cut the expenses, with a power of purchase in nosedive for years. The inflation has in fact corroded any earned advantage and it doesn't allow to put aside many money. This way we have touched the negative record of saving from the 1999. To hold they are above all the fixed investments, those for the house for instance, often sustained by the pensioner of family that gives help of an unemployed nephew or a precarious child.

Pensions: in 2050 a fifth of benefits will be inferior to the social pension, with imports under the 450 Euros. Among the most stricken the autonomous workers, the women and the precarious workers. Already today over half of the Italian fears not to have in old age an enough income to guarantee a dignified level of life. The 71,9% of the pensions in Italy don't overcome the 1.000 Euros. A pension on two is under the 500 Euros.  To parity of taxable income, the amount of an Italian pension, after taxes, it is inferior of 15% in comparison to France, Spain and Germany.

Incomes: The incomes of the families go down, they have suffered a decrease of purchasing power of almost two points percentages in 2010. Dependent and retired workers suffer more, the only ones that have seen to increase the paid taxes especially in the chief towns of province. To the band 60-64 years, then, goes also the negative record of increase of the income. To engrave above all in the domestic budget are the family burdens; and often children or not self-sufficient in the house they force the women to abandon the job.

Social expense: it is financed for 62% by resources proper of the Communes that in 2008 have destined to interventions and services over 6,5 million of Euros.

The massive presence of foreign women has changed radically the system of the assistance, creating a sort of parallel welfare and often submerged. It is mostly a question of women coming from east Europe, that they do a precious job for the families that it favours the permanence of the elderly in the one’s house Alzheimer: In Italy 800.000 patients, every year 100.000 new cases. 50% don't reach the unities of assistance.

The illness strikes above all after the 65 years and, for the moment, the precocious diagnosis it stays  the only practicable therapy to slow down the course of the pathology. The new net of UVA will serve to make uniform on the territory the pharmacological therapies and to meet the families, the principal protagonists in the management of the sick.
Health: On average, between the booking and the supply of the diagnostic check they spend fifty days. But the times of waiting vary a lot according to the formality of demand: directly phoning to the hospital or to the outpatients’ department the days are reduced to 40 days, against the 50 days of whom has booked to the counter and even the 76 days of whom has gotten the booking calling the Cup (Bookings Centre).

Consumer goods: Shopping twisted by the increases of the prices. The Mediterranean diet prey to the anarchy with bread and pasta almost disappeared by the table as meat, fish, fruit, wine and oil of olive. Search for      
the offers and the most convenient supermarkets that allow to save up to ten euros to week, but also boom of products of inferior quality or from discount. What troubles now are also the damages for the health of the menus low cost.

I have looked for with this exposure of mine to underline the existing discrepancy between the formulation of an economic theory and the lived reality. It misses, in my opinion, a coherent examination of the problems, not to see him under aspects of political opinion, but rather of real taking of conscience of the same, therefore with a real intention of overcoming in the interest of the whole community above and out of any rivalry or political opinion. Perhaps I will be a dreamer, but it doesn't seem me a thing so much difficult to realize.