Conference "A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? The future of pensions in the EU"

Date: 27 juin 2017
Heure: 13:00 - 18:00, followed by a cocktail
Lieu: Hotel Leopold, Rue du Luxembourg 35, 1050 Brussels

Since the middle of the 20th century, European countries have created extensive social security systems with the pension system as one of its central planks. The sustainability of these pensions systems is today being called into question by unprecedented economic and social changes, such as longer working lives, immigration, globalisation, automation and digitisation.

At this public conference, Finance Watch invited citizens, regulators, academics and industry representatives to discuss how to meet these emerging challenges for our pension systems.

Welcome address
Benoît Lallemand, Finance Watch, Secretary General


Presentation: "A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: The future of pensions in the EU"
Christian M. Stiefmueller, Finance Watch, Senior Policy Analyst (Download the slides and the full report)


Panel 1: "The Need for Reform: How much, how fast and .... how?"

  • Longer working lives, more immigration – are there realistic and politically viable solutions for the demographic challenge of Europe's ageing population?
  • Are forecasters' warnings of large scale job losses exaggerated - what will be the net impact of automation and digitisation on employment and pensions?
  • In view of demographic trends, is the "generational contract", which supports Pay-As-You-Go pension schemes, sustainable? Will funded pensions over time become the "new normal"?
  • How much of an overhaul is necessary and politically feasible?


  • Chris Curry, Pensions Policy Institute, Director; 
  • Mady Delvaux, MEP; 
  • Dr. Josef Woess, AK Europa , Head of Social Policy Unit; 
  • Dr. Susanna Kochskämper, Cologne Institute for Economic Research
  • Moderator: Mick McAteer, Financial Inclusion Centre, Co-Director

Panel 2: "From EIORP to PEPP: What could be the EU's contribution to the pension policy debate?"

Pension systems across Europe are very diverse, reflecting profound differences in history and social traditions. Still, all Member States are exposed to the same fundamental challenges, albeit to different degrees. Will demographic and technological changes bring about convergence? If so, in which way? What could be the EU's contribution towards viable long-term solutions?

  • What could be the role of the EU in promoting the development and implementation of safe, performant and universally accessible funded pension schemes in Europe? How much harmonisation (in Pillar 2 and 3) is possible/desirable?
  • What are the key features that should distinguish a personal pension plan, such as the proposed PEPP, from any other savings product? How to find the right balance between performance and investor protection? What would be the key requirements/design features of safe, performant and future-proof funded pension schemes
  • What could be done to improve the portability of pension entitlements and address differences in tax treatment of Pillar 2 and 3 pensions across EU Member States?


  • Nathalie Berger, European Commission, Head of Unit for Insurance and pensions DG FISMA;
  • Ilka Houben, German Insurance Association, Head of Pension Policy;
  • Johan Barnard, Head International Public Affairs, APG;
  • Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive, ShareAction;
  • Moderator: Isabelle Buscke, vzbv (German consumers association), Team Leader in Brussels


Closing keynote
John Berrigan, European Commission, Deputy Director General of DG FISMA



The event was co-funded by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung