The European Union’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee has backed a call for a review of EU staff pensions brought forward by Conservative MEP Vicky Ford.
The Economic and Monetary Affairs committee voted through a pensions green paper, Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pensions systems, this morning, including an amendment which says the committee is of the opinion a European Commission review should be carried out by June 2011.
Ford says: “I am extraordinarily pleased that my amendment has gone through, it says we should lead by example on sustainable pension provision at a time when we are suggesting best practice to member states.”
That opinion will now be looked at and be passed or rejected by the Employment and Social Affairs committee who are co-legislators on the pensions paper, and will then face a full plenary vote in the European Parliament.
Ford says when the amendment was originally raised in a plenary session in October it was not supported across the parliament and was voted out, but now, after a lot of work, support across the political groupings in the parliament is wider.
However, it is still not unanimous and Ford fears that the review could fall at the next hurdle.
She says: “The Socialist group did not support the amendment today and the chair of the Employment committee is a socialist.”
In a written parliamentary question in July, Ford pointed out the green paper lists actions taken by member states to address unsustainable pensions that other states might want to consider.
These include encouraging more people to work longer, increasing pensionable age, encouraging older workers to stay in the labour market and penalising earlier retirement.
She asked: “Which of the steps, mentioned above, has or will be taken by the Commission to ensure the EU’s own pension schemes are sustainable?”
Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, recently estimated the annual cost of estimated EU pensions will rise from €1.2bn last year to €2.5bn by 2045.