Theme: Pension Adequacy in Europe - Today and Tomorrow

Helsinki, 17 September 2019 | Musiikkitalo

With Europe’s population rapidly ageing, the role of adequate pension provision gains in importance for the economic well-being of an ever-growing share of Europeans. Despite recent efforts, the risk of old-age poverty, growing gender gaps in pensions and inadequate pension coverage of new forms of employment remain challenging also for future retirees in many EU Member States.

This conference, organized by the Finnish Centre for Pensions, gathered together experts and researchers to discuss how pension adequacy can be defined and measured, how indicators of pension adequacy should be developed and how to make better use of them in policy-making.

The conference was a side-event of the Finnish EU presidency.

Keynote speakers

  • Saila Ruuth (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)
  • Katarina Ivanković Knežević (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission)
  • Rudi Van Dam (FPS Social Security and Indicators’ Subgroup, SPC)
  • Susan Kuivalainen (Finnish Centre for Pensions)
  • Maria Vaalavuo (National Institute for Health and Welfare)
  • Mika Vidlund (Finnish Centre for Pensions)
  • Rait Kuuse (Social Protection Committee, European Commission)


  • Katarina Ivanković Knežević (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission)
  • Hervé Boulhol (Social Policy Division, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD)
  • Yves Stevens (KU Leuven)
  • Axel West Pedersen (Institute for Social Research Oslo)
  • Chair: Mikko Kautto (Finnish Centre for Pensions)


  • Outi Antila (Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)
  • Mikko Kautto (Finnish Centre for Pensions)

Interview with Rudi Van Dam: What do we expect of social security?

Since September 2018, Katarina Ivanković Knežević is one of the Director for Social Affairs in the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. Her areas of activity include the modernisation of social protection systems and wider social policies, fostering social and labour market inclusion through the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, as well as other relevant social policies of the European Union.

Before working for the European Commission, she was the State Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and the Pension System of the Republic of Croatia, where she was responsible for the management and implementation of the European Social Fund and other EU instruments aiming at human resources development. For the last 20 years, her professional interests include human rights and gender equality, social policy and employment, with particular focus on labour market policies.

Rudi Van Dam is Chair of the Indicator Subgroup (ISG) of the Social Protection Committee, an advisory Committee to the Council of Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs (EPSCO). He became a member of the ISG delegate for Belgium in 2006. He is the coordinator of social indicators at the Belgian Ministry for Social Security.

He is also a member of the Belgian High Council for Statistics. Before joining the Ministry for Social Security, he was a senior researcher on social indicators and social policy issues at the University of Antwerp and a guest professor on social research methodology at the High-School/University Brussels.

Susan Kuivalainen is the Head of Research at the Finnish Centre for Pensions.

Her research interest include pensions, social security, income, poverty and the livelihood of retirees.

Maria Vaalavuo is research manager at the Centre for Health and Social Economics at the National Institute for Health and Welfare. She received her PhD in social and political sciences from the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) in 2011. During her PhD studies, she spent one semester as a visiting researcher at the Kennedy School of Governance at Harvard University.

She has previously worked at the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the European Commission. Her research interests include  income mobility and income distribution, social inequalities, use of public services, and the relationship between health and employment.

Mika Vidlund is Liaison Manager at the Finnish Centre for Pensions. He works as a Team Leader of the International Analysis Team within the Planning Department, which produces services needed in the implementation and development of the Finnish earnings-related pension scheme.

He is a specialist on pension schemes in other countries, and his work focuses on cross-national pension comparisons.

Rait Kuuse is a deputy secretary general on social policy in the Ministry of Social Affairs of Estonia since 2014. He is responsible for the overall coordination and development of social policy in Estonia. He has been responsible for many statewide reforms: pension reforms, the workability reform and the preparation of the new framework for long-term care.

He has also directed several legislative and administrative changes in the area of social protection, child protection and equality policies and is responsible for the use of EU funds in his area of responsibility. Kuuse has been active internationally throughout his career. He has contributed actively to the projects of many international organisations and currently holds the position of Chair of the EU Social Protection Committee.

Hervé Boulhol is the Head of Pensions and Population Ageing of the Social Policy Division, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD. He has been a Senior Economist, responsible for the work on pensions and population ageing since March 2014.

Previously he worked in the Economics Department, heading the France and Poland Desks. Before joining the OECD in 2007, he had worked as an Economist in Natixis (2001-2007) and in financial markets (1989-2000). He graduated from the Ecole Nationale de Statistique et d’Administration Economique (ENSAE, 1989), and holds a Ph.D in Economics from Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne (2007).

Yves Stevens is a law professor at the University of Leuven. He coordinates the specialized pension law program. He is also the Chair of the editorial board of the Belgian Journal for Social Security.

He was chair of the advisory board on occupational pensions at the Financial Services Market Authority in Belgium from 2003 until 2013.  He has an elaborate international research experience. In the last two decades, he has worked throughout the world with longer stays in the USA, Australia and Japan.

Axel West Pedersen, Research Professor at the Institute for Social Research, Oslo, holds a PhD in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute in Florence. West Pedersen’s research interests include historical-comparative studies of the development of pension systems, studies of welfare opinion, and studies of the consequences of welfare policies for income inequality and income poverty.

West Pedersen is a national expert in the European Social Policy Network, which reports on social policy developments to the European Commission.

Tuesday 17 September 2019, 12:00 – 18:00 (all times are in local time UTC+3)

Coffee and registration

Welcome and introduction (Mikko Kautto, Finnish Centre for Pensions)
Opening remarks (Saila Ruuth, State Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health)

What is the role of pension adequacy and Pension Adequacy Reports in EU policy? (Katarina Ivanković Knežević, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission)

Monitoring pensioners’ economic well-being in Europe – lessons learned so far (Rudi Van Dam, FPS Social Security and Indicators’ Subgroup, SPC)
Questions and Comments

Coffee break

Pension adequacy in Finland

Economic well-being of pensioners in Finland (Susan Kuivalainen, Finnish Centre for Pensions)
Role of services in pensioner’s economic well-being (Maria Vaalavuo, National Institute for Health and Welfare)
Pension adequacy of the self-employed (Mika Vidlund, Finnish Centre for Pensions)

Panel discussion: Way forward – how to promote pension adequacy?

Katarina Ivanković Knežević, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
Hervé Boulhol, Social Policy Division, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD
Yves Stevens, KU Leuven
Axel West Pedersen, Institute for Social Research Oslo
Chair: Mikko Kautto, Finnish Centre for Pensions

Key take-aways: Closing words by Rait Kuuse (Social Protection Committee, European Commission)


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