(Photo: EU Commission)


Social policy is proposed as a shared competence by the Lisbon Treaty Art. 4 TFEU. EU law therefore suppress member states' existing legislation and right to legislate in these areas.

The level of state provision for old age pensions is a national competence, as is the age at which people become entitled to it. However, pensions are discussed under economic coordination and the so-called Lisbon process.

The EU Court ruled on the financing of pension systems through the Danner case. In this case a country was not permitted to limit tax reductions for pension schemes established in another country.

The EU also forbids discrimination between sexes or on the grounds of nationality.  This has led some EU countries, the UK for example, to introduce similar qualifying ages for pensions for men and women. Most European States' pension schemes are pay-related, whereas in the UK and Ireland they are flat rate and so cost much less to finance.

The EU member states have ageing populations; consequently the future cost of old age pensions throughout the EU is regarded as a growing problem. This will have implications for future public debt levels and the management of the Euro currency..


Social protection in the EU
EU court approves mandatory pension age (EUobserver)
CEIOPS (Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Supervisors)