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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Speech: on safe and sustainable pensions

Jean Lambert’s plenary speech on the report an ‘Adequate, sustainable and safe European pensions system’, on 15 February 2011.

The report by Dutch Christian Democrat Ria Oomen-Ruijten was backed by MEPs on the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee on 1 February.

On 16 February, the report was approved by the European Parliament by 535 votes to 85 with 57 abstentions.

Jean, who was the Green group’s shadow rapponteur on the report in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said:

“I too would like to add my voice to that of others who thanked the rapporteur for the very good work that has been done on this report. We are all aware national difference, differences between political groups and to come up with anything that gains a significant level of support is quite something. My group is particularly pleased that the report recognises the importance of first pillar pensions – a commitment to an adequate level, the issue of being able to provide a decent life. After all we spent 2010 dealing with questions of poverty, and of course this is also for many people this is a fixed income, an essential guarantee.

“Like others, we also welcome the recognition that we need to tackle decent pension provision for women. We also recognise the importance of tackling discrimination against older workers and using other measures to help people stay in work.

“For us too, the portability of pension rights is a crucial issue. More and more people are not working for one company throughout their working life. Indeed, they are working for several companies and not always in the same country. We need to avoid this fragmentation of pension provision so there is an essential role for the EU there.

“We are also pleased to see this report contains a commitment for second pillar pension provision and that is should be made available without discrimination on grounds of age, gender and work contract.
We would agree as well and are pleased to see it there that we need to adopt more of a life course approach that deals with the rhythms and patterns of modern working life, both the positive and negative.

“And again, we recognise the importance of solidarity in that first pillar, not least for those who work lives are involved with more casual labour, short term contracts and so on.

“But we are concerned at any effort to push third pillar private pension provision, and we agree that if people are going into it, it’s crucial they have adequate and clear information. We would also welcome as it is here in the report, that if there is going to be a change in pension provision people are given adequate time for adaptation and to consider their financial future.”