Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Sweden have made the most progress among European Union members in reforming their public pension systems, while Spain, Austria and France have made the least progress, according to a new study by Merrill Lynch. The Pension Reform Barometer report ranked EU countries according to the health of public retirement systems, including expected pension costs, and economic measures such as public debt and tax burden.
Consultant Jan Mantel, who wrote the report, said demographics played a large role in pension reform. "Ireland and the U.K. have much better demographics than the others with the least aging population, while Italy and Spain have the most aging populations, he said.
Mr. Mantel also said some countries have introduced funded pension schemes, taking some of the pressure off public retirement schemes. He said the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom have made the most progress in this area, while France has made the least progress, not even introducing legislation for funded pension schemes.
The overall rankings, in descending order, were: Ireland; United Kingdom; Netherlands; Sweden; Italy; Finland; Denmark; Belgium; Germany; Portugal; France; Austria; and Spain.