Italy and Denmark from Early Retirement to Active Ageing. Problems and Solutions for Structural Unemployment and Pension Funding
1. Introduction: The Possibilities of the New Politics
Over the last fifteen years the welfare state has undergone an undeniable process of policy and institutional change. Confronting the empirical evidence of an unexpected political commitment to unpopular socio-economic reforms, the influential interpretation of welfare institutions as immovable objects or frozen landscapes revealed itself to be an oversimplification (Arza and Kohli, 2007). Read More
The pensions systems of the enlarged Europe are gradually adapting their individual features to the requirements imposed by population ageing in a situation in which their financial sustainability is coming under ever increasing pressure. One of the main means by which this objective can be attained is the raising of the retirement age. In this regard almost all the recent pension reforms reflect the will to increase incentives for postponing retirement and for encouraging working lives to continue to an older age.
In view of the ongoing ageing and coming shrinking of their working-age population, the Member States of the European Union have agreed bold goals for increasing the employment rate and the exit age of older workers. Progress so far has been modest and with enlargement the challenge has become bigger. EU policies however lend constructive support and Member States are stepping up their efforts to institute better regimes of age management. As policy measures begin to kick in they are likely to be helped by an upward shift in the skill level of older workers and growing labour scarcity. Though it may be difficult to fully meet the targets of a 50% employment rate and a 5-year delay in the exit age by 2010, the relative role of older workers in the European workforce is likely to be substantially strengthened over the next 5-10 years.