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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2011): Pensions - overseas

The distinction between basic pension and contributory pension: the paradoxes of the recent reform of the Greek pension scheme (Laws 3863 and 3865/2010)

P. Paparrigopoulou-Pechlivanidi

Pensions, vol. 16, 2011, p. 51-62

In the face of a severe economic crisis, Greece has accepted control by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union of some aspects of its public finances. Among the measures imposed on Greece is a requirement that government funding of the pension system has to remain at 5% of GDP until 2030. In the light of an expected rise in the number of pensioners, the reforms introduced by laws 3863 and 3865/2010 focused on reducing expenditure through raising retirement ages, reducing pension replacement rates, and extending the social insurance contribution record required in order to qualify for a pension. The laws also introduced a distinction between the basic pension and contributory pensions with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable in society. However there is a danger that the reform may not achieve this objective because the basic pension, as instituted by law, undermines the contributory principle.

Ireland: turning a corner

D. Adams

European Pensions, Feb. 2011, p. 22-24

This article outlines the challenges facing the Irish pensions industry in the context of economic collapse. It focuses on a range of measures to address scheme funding deficits, such as moving from a defined benefit to a defined contribution model and the introduction of sovereign annuities, and the impact of reductions in tax relief.

Pensions crisis in the Netherlands

L. van der Meij

Pensions, vol.16, 2011, p. 13-20

In August 2010 it came to light that a number of Dutch occupational pension schemes were considering reducing the accrued rights and benefits of members. This may be due to the incorporation into Dutch domestic law of EU Directive 2003/41, which imposes a standard requirement on all member states to ensure full funding for their occupational pension schemes. Although the Dutch Pension Act allows pension funds, under certain circumstances, to reduce accrued rights and pensions in payment, such a step is unprecedented and has caused widespread public anger.

Pensions in a shrinking economy

J.B. Kuné

Pensions, vol.16, 2011, p. 21-32

There is a widespread concern that population ageing, resulting in a decline in the workforce, will hamper economic growth in Western countries. This article addresses the question of whether sustainable prosperity can be ensured in ageing societies with shrinking workforces. It is concluded that an ageing and shrinking society can maintain welfare for some time by not replacing part of its capital stock and transferring the resources freed up for provision of additional income for its retired people.

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