Financial sustainability of social protection systems (with particular reference to retirement pensions)

5. Conclusions
Ageing — and life itself — are far removed from what they were in the past, at least from a biological point of view. The former starts later and the latter has been prolonged. Nevertheless, over the past decades the trend in Europe has been to work less and often the effective age of retirement has been below sixty years old. This phenomenon runs the risk of undermining the welfare of the population, especially that of future generations. European Governments have incurred ‘hidden’, implicit debts which stand for several times the value of their annual GDP. Governments are indeed aware of this, however, they prove to be timid or pusillanimous when putting forward unpopular but vital measures in order to bring the relationship between production and resources consumption into line. It is important to accompany any attempt to soundly redress the level of resources, financial sustainability, intra- and intergenerational equity of pension systems with a clear nurturing of the meaning of work.

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