ZAGREB, June 17, 2016 — The Ministry of Labor and Pension System of the Republic of Croatia and the World Bank today organized a conference “Saving for Retirement: the Challenge of Designing Sustainable Retirement Savings Systems”, to share knowledge and experiences among European countries on different options of setting up sustainable pension savings systems.
As populations age, the ability of governments to provide the types of pensions they have provided in the past become more limited. Individuals will have to rely more and more on their own savings to top up what the government provides in retirement.
“Given the demographic challenges in Europe, the aging populations and the fiscal constraints, policy makers are interested in exploring and applying more efficient, effective and sustainable retirement savings systems,” said Christian Bodewig, World Bank Program Leader for Inclusive Growth for European Union Member States. “The World Bank is pleased to co-organize this conference, facilitate knowledge exchange and provide support to countries in introducing or modernizing voluntary pension savings systems.”
The conference gathered pension systems experts from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom. With the involvement of European Commission, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and World Bank experts, the attendees discussed common challenges their pension systems are facing, in particular, how aging populations are affecting the sustainability of the current pension systems models. They also exchanged experiences on how some countries succeeded in increasing voluntary participation in supplementary pension schemes, encouraging people to make additional savings for retirement. They also discussed whether automatic enrollment into savings schemes could be a good model to replicate to boost pensions.
“In the contemporary aging world, a long-term perspective on demographics and saving for old age can contribute to long term pension sustainability,” said Marinko Papuga, Assistant Minister of Labor and Pension System of the Republic of Croatia.
Since joining the World Bank in 1993, Croatia has benefited from financial and technical assistance, policy advice, and analytical services provided by the global development institution. To date, the World Bank has supported 54 operations amounting to around US$3.5 billion.