While Emmanuel Macron wants to reform the pension system, let’s take a look at the rules in force in our European neighbors, where the grass is not always greener.
The reform desired by the president should increase the number of years worked, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64, or even 65, to avoid a future shortfall in pension funding. However, most French people are opposed to extending the contribution period, according to several polls, including those of theyup eitherElaba.
Women are better off than men in several countries
And in other parts of Europe, who can retire earlier? These are women, in Austria and Poland, where they can stop working at the age of 60. As for the Austrians and Poles, they can leave at the age of 65. Several other countries have established legal ages based on gender, including Romania, the Czech Republic, and Croatia, for example.
It should be noted that several of them plan to gradually increase the retirement age of women until reaching that of men.
Soon a threshold at 69 in Denmark
But Europe is seeing its population age, and many countries are choosing to extend working time throughout life. Currently, the “ceiling” age in Europe is 67 years, this is the minimum established in Denmark, Iceland, Italy and several countries plan to reach this goal: Germany in 2031, Belgium in 2030 or the Netherlands in 2024. And from 2035 , Danes will have to work until the age of 69 to benefit from a full pension.
However, a distinction must be made between the legal age and the effective retirement age: in 2020, more than 5.1 million people over the age of 65 were still working in the European Union, according to data fromEurostatand this number has been increasing for several years.
Highly variable replacement rates
As for the amounts of pensions, the calculation rules also vary between European countries. To observe this, we can compare the replacement rates, that is, the relationship between the retirement pensions received on average by retirees and the average wages received by workers close to retirement. Be careful, because they are theoretical averages, which do not take into account special cases, and the real retirement age. But it gives an idea of the disparities in the Old Continent.
We find Denmark at the top of the ranking, with a replacement rate of 80%: specifically, this means that an average Danish retiree receives a pension equivalent to 80% of the average salary of early retirees. Austria, Spain, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal have rates above 70%. The lowest rates are observed in Lithuania (19.7%), Poland (23.4%), Estonia (28%) and Ireland (29.7%). With a replacement rate of 60.2% in 2020, France is slightly above the European Union average (53.8%).
With these two indicators we can get an idea of the quality of our neighbors’ pension plans. Thus, the Danish system is the most generous in terms of the replacement rate (80% of the last salary), but it is also the one in which you have to work later to benefit from a full rate (67 years, soon 69). And if Polish women can stop working at age 60, their replacement rate is only 23%, below the European Union average.
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