Thematic Discussion on Pensions in the context of the 2022 SPC Multilateral Implementation Reviews

Pensions, given their high budgetary weight and social importance1 , in particular in view of Europe’s ageing societies and changing labour markets, have been a focus area since the very start of the European Semester. In the years prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, approximately three-quarters of the Member States received country-specific recommendations (CSRs) related to their pension system. In 2020, the special circumstances and extraordinary nature of the COVID-19 crisis resulted in no CSRs on pensions being issued by the Council, even though pension issues were identified in recitals of the Recommendations. In 2021, given the comprehensive and forward-looking policy nature of the recovery and resilience plans2 , no (non-fiscal) country-specific recommendations were proposed either. In this context, reform implementation in the areas of pensions continues to be monitored by the Social Protection Committee by means of a thematic discussion, as well as by country-specific reviews of the past CSRs, where relevant. The thematic discussions on pensions took place on 28 February. At the meeting, the Member States engaged in a moderated exchange on two steering questions. The scene for the exchange was set by presentations from the European Commission and relevant case studies from Latvia, Italy and Croatia. The exchange was moderated by Gijsbrecht ‘Gijs’ Dekkers - former Chair of the SPC Working Group on Pensions Adequacy.