Adequate Income in old age

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Background information

older couple sitting in a park

The vulnerability of older people is first of all related to their lack of financial resources. When older people are asked about their unmet needs, it is the lack of adequate income that comes in first place. Although Member States remain responsible for the design and implementation of their social protection systems, the role of the EU in this domain has been changing. The Lisbon Treaty allows the EU to maintain and develop further the social achievements in full respect of national prerogatives. EU has also further ‘say’ on pensions as the national reform programmes that Member States submit every year are evaluated at EU level to monitor progress towards the Europe 2020 objectives.

AGE objective is to voice the preoccupations and expectations of today’s and future pensioners about their rights to old-age income (coming from both contributory and non-contributory schemes). AGE defends the right to an adequate income in old age as fundamental and necessary for everyone’s dignity and independence. We also promote a holistic approach to reforming social protection, looking for synergies among all elements which impact adequacy of income in old age, such as longer working lives, gender equality, reconciliation between work and private life, solidarity between generations, access to health and long-term care etc.



  • Lisbon Treaty including Art. 9, the so-called “horizontal social clause”, on the EU role to support Member States guarantee adequate social protection when implementing new policies
  • European Commission's White Paper ‘An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions’, outlining measures at European level to support and complement national pension reforms
  • European Commission's gender equality provisions e.g. directives on equal pay, equal treatment of men and women in employment or in statutory social security schemes
  • European Commission's Social Investment Package calling on Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states
  • Social Open Method of Coordination as key policy framework to develop a comprehensive approach to pensions, health and long-term care and social inclusion policies and to involve active participation of civil society in policy making


Objectives and areas of action

AGE's Task Force on adequate income in old age seeks to raise awareness about older people’s needs in relation social protection systems, in particular old-age income. Our objective at EU and national level is twofold: 1) promote balanced and diversified pension architecture with adequate and reliable statutory pension (so-called first pillar) and; 2) guarantee for the most vulnerable older persons necessary social safety nets enabling a dignified life in old age.

Our work focuses on the following issues and processes:

  • EU role in supporting Member States ensure long-term adequacy, safety and sustainability of pensions and overall social protection systems;
  • Impact of the crisis and national reforms on adequacy and safety of national pension schemes and on the overall sustainability of social protection systems;
  • Implementation of EC agenda on pensions (White Paper), Social Investment Package and other related EU processes and strategies in line with Europe 2020 objectives;
  • Gender equality across whole life span to guarantee the right to pensions for women and men;
  • Social realities of vulnerable groups, such as older women, long-term unemployed, migrants or disabled persons etc.;
  • Campaign for EC directive on minimum income to fulfil older people’s essential needs and preserve decent standards of living and personal dignity.


European Project in which AGE is involved: European Minimum Income Network (EMIN)


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This website is developed with the financial support of an operating grant of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Commission. The contents of the articles are the sole responsibility of AGE Platform Europe and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.