Round table "Croatian pension system: between financial sustainability and social acceptability

The Round Table "Croatian Pension System:" was held in Zagreb on December 1st, 2010, and was attended by representatives of all relevant institutions in Croatia. The meeting was jointly organized by Croatian TU confederations (HUS, NHS, SSSH) and the ITUC/ PERC SEE Office as a part of regional project "Role of Trade Unions in Pension System Reforms in SEE Countries" financed by LO Norway.

H.e. Mr. Henrik Ofstad from Norwegian Embassy in Croatia and ETUC expert Martin Hutsebaud also attended this event.

The main topic was the growing issue of non-sustainable pension system and detection of main causes. As this topic iconcerns very wide range of various institutions from both private and public sectors, among presidents and experts of TU confederations as hosts, there were representatives from Croatian Pension Insurance Administration, Tax Administration, Directorate for Pension Insurance of Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, Croatian Employers Association, World Bank, Pension Funds, and independent academic experts.

The Round Table was hosted by Jagoda Milidrag Šmid, a legal expert from SSSH. After welcome speech held by Mr. Henrik Ofstad, TU leaders introduced the topic by union’s extensive reflection on today’s pension system problem, pointing out issues from extensive budget dependency and numerous mini-reforms in past years to today’s emerging injustice as a result of non-systematic approach.

Mr. Predrag Bejaković from the Institute of Public Finance briefly presented the system in figures so everybody could get a clear picture on situation as it is nowadays. This was indeed a fertile ground to set up a discussion which involved every participant to present the reflections from their institutions and to respond to various remarks.

At the end, Mr. Martin Hutsebaut summed up meeting, pointing out the recent trends in EU as relevant to SEE region and concluded with the ultimate necessity of fighting unemployment as fundamental cure for non-sustainable pension system as it is now.

Trade Unionists concluded that:

1) fighting unemployment is fundamental activity against growing disbalance of working and non-working people;
2) much more academic expertise is needed to make projections of new sustaible models of pension system, especially in cost-benefit analysis of pension funds management
3) international financial institutions are the last to consult in this process as they didn’t bring any positive effects in countries where they were acting

Reported by:
Sven Karas, expert, HUS Croatia, and
Enisa Salimović,ITUC/PERC SEE Offce Sarajevo