15 March 2012 - AgenceEurope on AGE and CoR first Thematic Seminar

(AE) SOCIAL: CoR supports active older workers on employment market
Brussels, 15/03/2012 (Agence Europe) - To mark the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity, the Committee of the Regions held a seminar, on Thursday 15 March, on the theme of the labour market and social protection regimes for all ages. AGE Platform Europe, the European network of organisations for older people, which jointly organised the conference, pointed out that, given the ageing population in Europe, it is time for political decision-makers to act in favour of more active participation by older workers on the labour market. AGE Platform Europe defended the setting in place of national and European growth and employment policies, with a view to adapting the labour market and places of work not only to an ageing workforce but also to young workers.
The panel of speakers also tackled the matter of viability and sustainability of pension schemes and social protection, subject to pressure from budgetary cuts aimed at reducing public deficit. In his address, Ralf Jacob, from DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion at the European Commission, said that extending the career time is the best way to ensure the sustainability of retirement schemes. He referred to the Commission White Paper published in February this year on setting up adequate and viable retirement systems, recalling that it is necessary to ensure a “better balance between active life and retirement” and to create “better conditions for saving more, for example, through a joint retirement scheme”.
Henri Sterdyniak, from the Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques, however, took the view that “it will be necessary to organise a certain postponement in the retirement age, but that is far from being a priority today. Today's priority is youth employment”. He went on to add that “it is necessary to reassure active young people, who are already paying their contributions, that the social system will last. It is therefore truly a question of intergenerational solidarity”.
It came as no surprise that inequalities in access to pension schemes between men and women was the subject of discussion. Eva Maria Welskop-Deffaa, who heads the council of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), noted that, in Germany, women's rights to pensions, in all sectors, is “59% below men's pension rights” because of the often atypical career pattern of women. Welskop-Deffaa said she was in favour of an equal retirement age for both men and women, saying that the measures initially set in place to protect women are now proving to be disadvantageous for women. (SD/transl.jl)
Monday 19 March 2012
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