Europe faces a pensions timebomb as the active population shrinks and societies get older. The financial crisis has made things worse, but also opened a window of opportunity to reform the system, as it’s sharpened perceptions something must be done, and fast. But who will pay?
The financial crisis has intensified what has long been a simmering problem; what to do about about ageing populations with ever fewer workers supporting ever more pensioners, living longer?
Trying to defuse the demographic timebomb and cut budgets to avert a financial meltdown, governments are further raising the retirement age and reining in benefits. A leaked European Commission draft white paper on pension reform wants EU member states to scrap the mandatory retirement age and encourage people to work longer with more programmes like Lifelong Learning.
As unions threaten more strikes in the New Year the showdown over pensions is not likely to go away any time soon.
This edition of ‘The Network’ questions some key European players on the issues.