European Retirement Week

European Retirement Week starts on 29 November 2021

Europe’s first ever Retirement Week is organised from 29 November to 3 December at the initiative of 11 European associations.

It provides a platform for a wide range of stakeholders to debate the future of pensions in Europe and raise citizens’ awareness of the need to save for retirement.

Download full programme

Monday, 29 November (12h-12h30 CET) — Launch event

Europe’s first ever Retirement Week opens with a keynote speech by European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness and quick-fire contributions from the associations organising the Week on the key priorities for pensions and trends shaping the pensions landscape.


Mairead McGuinness was appointed European Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability & Capital Markets Union in late 2020, having previously been a first vice-president of the European Parliament, where she had served as an MEP for Ireland since 2004. She previously spent 24 years as a journalist, broadcaster and commentator.

Liam Kennedy is editor of Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) and editorial director of IPE International Publishers. Based in London, he has nearly 20 years’ experience as a financial journalist and editor, specialising in institutional investment and pension funds. Prior to joining IPE in 2007, he spent nearly seven years at the Financial Times Group.

Monday, 29 November (12h-12h30 CET) — Business Europe

Employers4Reforms: Sustaining pension systems in line with employment and demographic trends

This event focuses on the challenges linked to reforming national pension systems and explores successful approaches to modernising these systems. Employers’ representatives from a number of countries take centre stage in the discussions.

Tuesday, 30 November (10h-11h45 CET) — BETTER FINANCE

BETTER FINANCE workshop: how do I get value for money?

Starting with a keynote speech by Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, MEP, BETTER FINANCE’s workshop on Value for Money hosts interventions by EIOPA’s Fausto Parente, Charles Randell from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, and Ján Šebo from Matej Bel University. BETTER FINANCE’s Guillaume Prache will present “The Real Return – BETTER FINANCE’s Pensions Report”.

Tuesday, 30 November (14h-15h30 CET) — FESE

How does market structure link to pensions?

FESE’s webinar, with a speaker line up including Alexandra Jour-Schröder from DG FISMA, Sébastien Raspiller from the Directorate General of the French Treasury, and Christiane Hölz from the Deutsche Schutzvereinigung für Wertpapierbesitz e.V. (DSW), addresses key questions around mobilising savings and bridging Europe’s pension gap: how can Europe encourage retail investors to better invest for their retirement? What should public authorities – through the Capital Markets Union – be doing to facilitate greater access to simple and low-cost pension products people can trust? How can retail investors have better access to execution venues? How can Europe ensure appropriate investor protection?

Wednesday, 1 December (10h-12h CET) — PensionsEurope

Investing in the Future

Wednesday, 1 December (13h-15h CET) — AGE Platform Europe

Realising and protecting pension adequacy across the pillars for current and future generations

AGA Platform Europe's event will highlight the increasing rates of poverty and social exclusion of pensioners and persisting gender gaps in pensions in the EU. The two panel event will look at multi-pillar pension systems from the points of view of fiscal justice, inter-generational solidarity, and will discuss the extent to which savers and beneficiaries have control over the investment choices empowered by their funds.

Wednesday, 1 December (15h30-17h CET) — Insurance Europe

Pension pots and how to fill them — providing for old age

Featuring a keynote speech by Helmut Schwarzer of the International Labour Organization (ILO), a presentation of Insurance Europe's second Pan-European Pension Survey results and a panel discussion based on the survey findings between Elsa Favre-Baron (OECD), Ilka Houben (GDV) and Justin Wray (EIOPA).


Helmut Schwarzer has been the public finance economist of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since April 2021 and is currently the officer in charge of the Public Finance, Actuarial and Statistical Services Unit of the ILO Social Protection Department, based in Geneva. Previous positions were researcher at the IPEA (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada), undersecretary for social security and for the Bolsa Familia programme, all in Brazil, as well as specialist for social security in the ILO Social Protection Department and at ILO’s Mexico country office.

Margot Jilet Vesentini has worked for over four years as a policy advisor for Insurance Europe’s personal insurance team, working mainly on pension and life insurance-related issues. Prior to joining Insurance Europe, she represented the interests of various financial services industries in Brussels.

Nicolas Jeanmart is head of Insurance Europe’s personal insurance, general insurance and macroeconomics department. Prior to joining Insurance Europe in 2010, he worked for the European Savings Banks Group, where he held various positions, culminating in four years as head of the banking supervision and economic affairs department. In his earlier career, he provided consultancy and training services, primarily to the financial sector.

Elsa Favre-Baron is a policy analyst in the OECD’s Private Pension Unit, where she analyses private and funded pension systems, with a particular focus on investment strategies and gender differences. Prior to joining the OECD, she spent over 12 years in investment banking, where she started her career as a derivatives structurer before becoming a senior banker covering large European institutional clients.

Ilka Houben is head of pensions policy at the GDV, the German insurance association. Social security issues played an important role from the beginning of her career in 1998 at the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA), especially as deputy head of the labour market department. After heading units for other business associations she joined the GDV in 2013.

Justin Wray is head of the policy department and head of the insurance policy unit at the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). Before joining EIOPA in 2011, he worked at the UK Pensions Regulator in a number of operational and policy roles including as head of pensions administration and governance. Prior to that, he worked at the UK Treasury on financial services regulation and international debt issues, and at the UK Department for International Development.

Thursday, 2 December (9h-9h30 CET) — BETTER FINANCE/EBF/Insurance Europe

Wake up to the pension challenge

Start the day with a stimulating short exchange between BETTER FINANCE's Aleksandra Mączyńska, the European Banking Federation's Wim Mijs and Insurance Europe's Michaela Koller on the importance of financial literacy in boosting pension resilience. Special guest: Anne Nolan, associate research professor at Ireland's Economic and Social Research Institute.


Anne Nolan is an associate research professor in the social research division, and joint research area coordinator for health and quality of life research at Ireland’s Economic & Social Research Institute. She is also a research affiliate at the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing at Trinity College Dublin and is on the study team management group of the Growing up in Ireland study. Her main research interest is health economics, with a particular focus on healthcare financing and access, socio-economic inequalities in health and Irish health policy.

Michaela Koller has been director general of Insurance Europe since 2007. She is currently secretary general of the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA) and chairs EIOPA’s insurance and reinsurance stakeholder group. She was previously a member of the management committee of the European Savings Banks Group and the World Savings Banks Institute.

Aleksandra Mączyńska is the executive director responsible for research and advocacy work of BETTER FINANCE — the European Federation of Investors and Financial Services Users. She sits on the EC’s Financial Services User Group advising in the preparation of legislation and policy initiatives that affect financial services users. She is also part of the EC Consumer Policy Advisory Group and vice-chair of EIOPA’s Occupational Pensions Stakeholder Group. Previously, she worked for the Polish consumer and competition watchdog.

Wim Mijs was appointed CEO of the European Banking Federation in 2014. He was previously CEO of the Dutch banking association, NVB, for seven years. He began his career at the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague, before joining ABN AMRO, rising to become head of government affairs.

Thursday, 2 December (10h-12h CET) — AEIP

The future of social protection — the role of supplementary social protection institutions

AEIP's event will explore the added value of the paritarian model in delivering solutions in a changing context.

Thursday, 2 December (13h-15h CET) — CBBA-Europe

How might EU member states effectively reform their pension systems and improve long term-savings in the face of today's challenges?

Thursday, 2 December (15h-17h CET) — EFAMA

The future of DC pensions — how to create a thriving DC market in Europe

A deep dive into the reasons why the Defined Contribution (DC) market is under-developed in Europe and an exploration of how to create a thriving DC market in Europe.

Friday, 3 December (10h-12h CET) — ETS Project Consortium

Find, inform and activate —, the pension portal for mobile workers