3 European Countries Grab at Private Pensions

Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland call for citizens' savings
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 3, 2011 2:51 PM CST

(Newser) – As European governments seek new sources of revenue, private retirement plans are taking a hit. Since most are organized by the state, "European ministers of finance have a facilitated access to the savings accumulated there, and it is only logical that they try to get a hold of this money for their own ends," writes Jan Iwanik for the Christian Science Monitor. Iwanick highlights five such schemes:

  • Hungarians last month had to choose between handing the government their retirement savings or giving up their state pensions.
  • In Bulgaria, the government called for $300 million of private early retirement savings to be moved to state pensions; trade union protests weakened the plan.

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  • The Polish government wants a third of future private retirement fund contributions to go to social security.
Not a matter of personal savings, but related to national funds:
  • In Ireland, the government earmarked some $5 billion of a national pension fund to save banks in 2009; this year, the rest of that fund was spent on the country’s bailout.
  • France earmarked some $43 billion from the government’s reserve pension fund to cut a short-term pension deficit. Retirement savings that was to be used in the years 2020 to 2040 will now be used between 2011 and 2024.
(Read more Hungary stories.)

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