Pension policy

The EU Commission has started implementing the measures proposed in the White Paper on Pensions. Occupational pensions are affected significantly.


2016 Strategic Social Reporting

The Member States of the European Union publish national developments regarding the goals set in the Open Method of Coordination for social protection and social inclusion annually. The 2016 Strategic Social Report for Germany is available in German and English.

Regarding occupational pensions, the Report describes the transposition of the Mobility Directive (for an overview of this process see our section on Employment Regulation) into German law: „With the Act to Transpose the EU Mobility Directive (Gesetz zur Umsetzung der EU-Mobilitäts-Richtlinie), the European Directive 2014/50/EU of 16 April 2014 on minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility between Member States by improving the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights is transposed into German law. The Directive seeks to reduce obstacles to worker mobility which may be created by certain rules concerning occupational pension schemes. The future mobility of workers will be particularly improved by lowering from five to three years the vesting period as of which the vested pension rights are no longer forfeited if the employee changes employer and by lowering the vesting age from 25 to 21. The new regulations will apply from 1 January 2018 and will help ensure that mobile workers will have fewer gaps in their occupational pension portfolio in the future.“ (p. 26)


Overview over the status of implementation of the EU White Paper on Pensions

The EU Commission has published an overview on the Implementation of the EU White Paper on Pensions in March 2014. The document lists the different initiatives from the White Paper and the envisaged time frames for implementation.


National Social Report 2014 published

The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales) has published the National Social Report for 2014. The annual report analyses strategies and progress regarding the goals set in the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection. The Report gives a short overview over the first pillar pension reform currently debated in Germany and which is intended to come into force in July 2014 (starting on page 18).

Regarding private pensions, the Report states (page 21): “The cost-efficiency of old-age provision products is becoming increasingly important against the backdrop of low interest rates and the resulting decline in earnings from such products. Other projects look into obstacles to occupational pension schemes at small and medium-sized enterprises where occupational pensions are not very common. Studies also seek to examine how it would be possible for more people on a low income to receive an occupational pension. It is precisely this group of people who do not make enough provisions for old age.”

The Report is available in English and in German.


European Parliament resolution on an Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions (21 May 2013)

The European Parliament (EP) has passed a resolution on an Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions on 21 May 2013. The draft of the resolution based on the collaboration between the rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten (Committee on Employment and Social Affairs) and Thomas Mann (Committee for Economic and Monetary Affairs).

  • In the resolution the EP makes the case for a three-pillar-model: the first pillar should continue to be the most important source of retirement income, but it also stresses the importance of the second pillar (occupational pensions) in preventing old age poverty. Either only the first pillar, or the first pillar in conjunction with the second pillar, should suffice to build up an adequate replacement income in retirement. The third pillar only has an additional or complementary function.
  • The EP recognises the role of funded pensions for the European economy: investors of the second and third pillar are seen as “substantial and reliable long-term investors”.
  • Occupational pensions are low cost: In addition to the important role of occupational pensions in preventing old age poverty, the EP stresses “ the low operating costs of (sector-wide) collective (preferably non-profit) occupational pension schemes, as compared to individual pension savings schemes; emphasises the importance of low operating costs as even limited cost reductions can yield substantially higher pensions”. In contrast, the EP regrets that “third-pillar systems are most often more cost-intensive, more risky and less transparent than first-pillar systems”. With this statement the EP clearly shows that it favours occupational provision when it comes to funded pensions – more than the European Commission has done so far.
  • No clear direction for the revision of the IORP Directive: in contrast, the resolution is vague when discussing the revision of the IORP Directive and allows different interpretations.


White Paper "An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions"

On 16 February 2012 the European Commission published the White Paper Paper "An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions". A White Paper generally brings together suggestions and measures for a common approach in a certain area. As in this case, it often builds on an earlier Green Paper, which sets into motion a consultation process on the European level.

Of the eleven measures proposed by the Commission relating to "complementary private retirement savings", nine refer to occupational pensions.

The aba has published a Position Paper (in German) discussing the White Paper. 


Green Paper “Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems

On 7 July 2010 the European Commission published the Green Paper “Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems”. With the Green Paper the Commission is encouraging a debate as to if and how the pension framework in the EU needs to be reviewed. The Green Paper is not addressing many new questions, but rather many well-known topics: the review of the IORP Directive, portability, regulation and supervision, solvency for IORPs, insolvency protection as well as information requirements. The consultation ended on 15 November 2010.


aba Position Papers on the Green Paper

Summary     (English)

Summary     (German)

Full version  (German)








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