In its Resolution 1752 (2010) and Recommendation 1932 (2010) on decent pensions for women, the Parliamentary Assembly recently called for retirement policies based on greater solidarity between women and men. The Assembly holds the firm belief that older persons have the right to income security and that pensions are the most effective way of providing them with such security in dignity.
In the current situation of economic and financial crisis, over-indebtedness of states, and demographic evolution, the Assembly reaffirms its attachment to the principle of guaranteeing a personal pension entitlement to every individual.
The design of pension schemes differs greatly among Council of Europe member states, many of which have been reformed in recent years with a view to ensuring the financial sustainability of public pension schemes in particular. This has been achieved, for example, by raising the minimum retirement age, introducing or strengthening second- or third pillar private occupational or individual pension schemes, switching from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes, etc.
It is now possible to attempt a first evaluation of both the positive and negative effects of these reform efforts and in particular of their major goal – namely to ensure that retirement pensions will be sufficient to offer a reasonable standard of living, above the national poverty line, whilst at the same time ensuring that the cost for the next generation remains affordable.
In line with the spirit of the European Social Charter, the Assembly considers social protection essential for social cohesion and adequate pensions necessary for the very large majority of the European population. Pension reforms should re-establish the responsibility of public authorities to ensure a decent standard of living for people of all age groups, based on greater solidarity between and within generations.