Answer given by Mr Andor on behalf of the Commission
In the Annual Growth Survey 2012 the Commission has recommended to Member States which still have lower pension ages for women that they equalise them with those applying to men. This is in line with gender equality policies as well as responding to the need of prolonging working lives to ensure the adequacy and sustainability of pensions.
The pension ages for women will rise in 10 Member States. In 9 of them the planned rise amounts to 1-3 years, only in Italy in the private sector it goes up by as much as 6 years between 2012 and 2020.(1)
In the White Paper on Pensions of 16 February 2012 the Commission underlined the need to take a gender specific approach to questions of securing adequate pensions including by enabling both women and men to have longer and less broken working careers that allow them to build adequate pension entitlements. It should be noted that a lower pensionable age prevents women from earning adequate pension entitlements in pension systems where contributions determine the level of benefits.
The White Paper suggests initiatives to help governments and social partners raise the coverage of women in occupational and other private pension schemes. The Commission is supporting Member States to promote greater gender equality in employment and remuneration. The Commission is also drawing attention to the possibility of improving pension outcomes for women through care crediting such as presently practised by a number of Member States.
The Commission has no plans to suggest the introduction of a European basic pension.