Retirement Income Systems in Middle and Eastern Europe: Between Change and Continuity
During the process of transition the Middle and Eastern European Countries introduced pension insurance plans on a Pay-as-you-go-basis following the Western European pattern. Rising financing problems caused by increasing unemployment as well as the demographic change led to the awareness of the need of reform. Hence in most of these countries mandatory funded pension schemes were established. This way proved to be costly since the actual active generation has to simultaneously finance both the new capital stock and the pensions of today’s retirees. The financial crisis revealed the vulnerability of funded pension plans. On this background especially Poland and Hungary partly roll back their reforms. In the Czech Republic whose pension plans were not harmed by the financial crisis the government plans to support private pension schemes increasingly. Bearing in mind the recent experiences it is recommendable to build up funded pension schemes very carefully and slowly. A further weakening of pension plans on a Pay-as-you-go basis is not advisable.