When David Cameron returned from Sweden he
enthused about Swedish ideas. The electorate may not be so happy with the
latest idea from Sweden.
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt says
Swedes may have to stretch their working life from 65 to 75 years in order to
keep the same standard of living.
Since 1960, life expectancy has climbed by eight
years and demographic projections foresee a further five-year increase over the
next four or five decades. Europeans are living longer and, together with low
birth rates, Europe's population is ageing rapidly.
In France, retirement age is becoming a major
topic in view of the presidential elections, after a highly contested reform
proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy was adopted by the French parliament in November
2010, despite week-long mass protests. This increased the legal retirement age
from 60 to 62 years from 2017 on, but to receive full pension payments, the
French will have to work until the age of 67 in the future.
In Germany, the Social Democrats, in coalition
with the Greens, voted for the gradual increase of the retirement age against
the fierce resistance of trade unions. The highly controversial pension reform
became effective on 1 January 2012. The retirement age to obtain a full pension
is to gradually rise from 65 to 67 by 2031.
Germany is also seeking to make financial help
for EU countries dependent on raising retirement ages .The argument is that
people in countries including Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal are
not able to retire earlier than in Germany. Italy and Spain are raising the
retirement age In Greece, retirement before the age of 65 is a fading dream for
those still in work. In Poland, they are raising the retirement age for women
from 60 to 67 and for men from 65 to 67 from 2013.
If you think 67 sounds the new norm, think again.
In the Czech Republic, pension reform from January 2013 means that people
currently in their 50s will be able to claim pension at 63, people presently
around 20 will retire at 69, and children born this year will retire at 73.
Life expectancy differs starkly throughout the
EU. According to Eurostat, life expectancy for women is the highest in France
(85 years), Spain (84.9) and Italy (84.5). For men, it is at 78 in France, 78.6
in Spain and 79.1 in Italy. However, the figures are dramatically lower for
countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania. In Lithuania
the life expectancy for men is 67.5 for men and 78.7 for women, in Latvia, it
is 68.1 for men and 78 for women. In Estonia, it is 69.8 for men and 80.2 for
women. In Bulgaria, it is 70.1 for men and 77.4 for women, and in Romania –
69.8 for men and 77.4 for women.
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
says an increase from 65 or 67 is inevitable due to increasing life expectancy,
as people will be living ten years longer by 2050.This would mean that the
retirement age should be increased by about five years to 72.
So for the UK, 72 or 75?
The retirement age matters hugely for many types
of insurance, as cover ends at retirement date, while new age legislation
should prevent discrimination against older workers.