European Journal of Law Reform

Article

Addressing the Pension Challenge: Can the EU Respond?

Towards Facilitating the Portability of Supplementary (Occupational) Pension Rights

Keywords Economic crisis, social protection, pension provision, occupational pensions, cross-border portability of pension rights
Authors Konstantina Kalogeropoulou
Author's information

234136 Konstantina Kalogeropoulou
Senior Lecturer in Law, Kingston University. I would like to thank Dr Ioannis Glinavos for the invitation to participate in this special issue.
  • Abstract

      The European economic crisis has underlined the challenges that Member States of the European Union face towards ensuring adequate social protection provision for their citizens. The effects of the crisis have and can further impact on the capacity of pension schemes, both state provided and privately managed, that constitute a significant aspect of social protection, to deliver pension promises. This paper highlights the current situation that the common pension challenges pose for Member States and focuses on a particular issue around occupational pension provision, which has been on the European Commission’s agenda for a long time, and on which limited progress had been made. This is the issue of cross-border portability of supplementary pension rights. It is argued that current circumstances facilitate EU action to be taken in this area. In the first section, the paper identifies the main challenges around pension provision stemming from demographic ageing and the effects of the economic crisis. Section two provides a brief overview of the Commission’s holistic approach envisaged in its 2012 White Paper on safe, adequate, and sustainable pensions. Section three provides an overview of the issue of the portability of supplementary pension rights for EU workers. Section four outlines previous attempts and recent developments towards the adoption of legislative measures to promote the portability of such pension entitlements. The paper concludes by arguing that the renewed focus on pensions, in the context of current challenges and the need to enhance workers’ mobility and to provide adequate social protection, have paved the way towards the adoption of measures in this area.

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