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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP welcomes Euro Parliament’s call for pensions above poverty line

Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, has welcomed the European Parliament’s strong support for a resolution calling on Member States to ensure the sustainable delivery of pensions above the poverty line [1].

The report, which was produced in response to a European Commission Green Paper, addresses the issue of delivering adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems to an ageing population [2] during a time of financial crises.

Jean, the Green group’s shadow rapporteur on the report in the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said after today’s vote: “I welcome the support of my fellow MEPs for this timely report. The question of providing adequate and universal pension provision to an ageing population is a crucial one which this resolution goes a substantial way to address.

“Importantly, the report specifically calls on Member States to ensure first-pillar pensions are above the poverty line. For many people this is the only fixed income they receive and it must be sufficient to provide a decent living.

“On equality, the report recognises the importance of tackling discrimination against older workers by firstly noting the gap between statutory retirement age and actual retirement age and by encouraging measures to actively include older workers.

“The gender imbalance needs a comprehensive approach, including tackling the pay gap in general and recognising career breaks in pension provision. The issue of discrimination is also addressed by noting the benefits of adapting a life course approach to pension systems.”

Jean, the Green Party’s spokesperson on employment, social affairs and pensions, added: “Crucially, the report also acknowledges that ‘a job for life’ is becoming obsolete and calls for the removal of obstacles to the portability of pension rights both when moving to a new company in the same country and when working abroad.

“However, I am concerned about any efforts to push third pillar private pensions, which are especially vulnerable in times of financial crises. That is why a poverty-proofed universal pension is so crucial. However, the Parliament has supported my call to give people enough time to plan for an changes in the pension systems; this is not what has just happened to thousands of women in the UK.”

ENDS

Notes to editor:

1] The resolution, drafted by Ria Oomen-Ruijten (EPP), was approved by 535 votes to 85 with 57 abstentions on 16 February 2011.

2] The European Commission Green Paper on pensions stated that “at present there are four people of working age for every person over 65, by 2060 there will be just two”.

3] On April 6, 2010 the State Pension age for women began to increase from 60 to reach 65 by 2018 to match men’s. From December 2018 the State Pension age for both men and women will start to increase to reach 66 by April 2020. As a result, about 500,000 women born between 6 April 1953 and 5 April 1960 will have to work an additional year. A further 33,000 women will have to work an additional two years.

To read the report in full visit: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2011-0025&language=EN&mode=XML