This working paper assesses the impact of the economic crisis on European pension systems and provides a comparative overview of the measures imposed on European pension systems, together with their effects.

Focussing on eight countries (representative of different pension models) the study shows that these countries applied a similar two-step strategy in response to the crisis. After introducing anti-cyclical measures in the first years (2009-10), they all moved later (2010-12 and on) to austerity measures trying to improve the financial viability of pensions (e.g. revised indexation, an increase in the retirement age or a stricter link between contributions and benefits).

That said, these countries implemented different sets of measures to tackle their pension challenges. These differences were very much related to the institutional pension system inherited from the past and the magnitude and nature of the financial crisis hitting these countries.

Finally, the working paper also looks at the role of social partners in pension reforms in these countries and concludes that there is a broad trend towards a deterioration of the dialogue between governments and social partners.

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