Current situation

Currently, the normal retirement age for officials recruited after 1 May 2004 is 63 years. Officials recruited before 1 May 2004 are subject to transitional provisions according to which the retirement age varies from 60 years to 63 years. A penalty of 3.5% per year is applied for each year that someone taken before the normal retirement age, with the minimum retirement age currently set at 55 years. The application of this penalty can significantly reduce the beneficiary’s pension.

The Commission is stating yhat the trend throughout Europe is for retirement ages to increase, as all Member States face the problem of ageing populations and a corresponding explosion of the pension bill. With an annual accrual rate of 1.9% for those recruited after 1 May 2004, it takes 36.8 years of service to acquire full pension rights of 70% in the European Civil Service. Given that the average recruitment age in the Commission has for many years been around or above 30, many officials have not accumulated full pension rights by the time they reach the normal retirement age and therefore decide to keep working, often until 65 and, in exceptional cases, until 67.

Early Retirement without reduction of pension rights

To take account of the need to recruit staff from the new Member States, an early retirement measure without reduction of pension rights was introduced in 2004. The maximum number of staff members allowed to retire under this scheme is fixed at 10% per year of all officials having retired the year before.

Under this measure and its current rules, staff members can retire without penalty, with the level of acquired rights unaffected. The minimum retirement age to benefit from this particular scheme is 55 years. During the enlargement process and in a zero-growth environment, this scheme has proven to be a budgetarily neutral and flexible tool to support turnover, redeployment and the recruitment of new staff with specialised competences, but it has been heavily criticised by the Member States.

The Commission is proposing changes to the scheme given that the EU’s biggest post-enlargement recruitment will soon be completed.

The proposals

Given the demographic reality, Commission proposes setting the normal retirement age of officials recruited from 1st May 2013 at 65 years. Like in 2004, similar transitional rules will be applied, i.e. the retirement age of officials recruited before 1 May 2013 will vary from 60 to 65 years (see table below for details).
The Commission is pretending taht for most staff, this will mean to work up to around one year longer, furthermore, the possibility to continue working until 67 years will no longer be granted only on an exceptional basis, but will be more widely open to colleagues, provided that it is in the interest of the service…

The minimum age for early retirement with reduction of acquired pension rights will be increased from the current 55 years to 58 years.

Despite requests from the Council, Commission dis not propose abolishing the early retirement scheme. However, in line with the other above-mentioned proposals, the minimum age for early retirement without reduction of acquired pension rights will also be increased from the current 55 years to 58 years. Moreover, as the major enlargement wave is over, Commission thinks it seems appropriate to further limit access to this particular scheme by reducing from 10% to 5% the maximum number of retirements per year, for all the Institutions. The annual percentage may vary from 4% to 6%, subject to the principle of budgetary neutrality.

The option of working half-time with 60% remuneration and full pension rights accumulation during the last years before retirement will be maintained, but the maximum duration will be reduced from 5 to 3 years.

Transitional arrangements for staff already working in the Institutions: the table shows the new retirement age dependent on your age on 1 May 2013.

Age on 1 May 2013 Pensionable age Age on 1 May 2013 Pensionable age
59 years and above 60 years 0 months 44 years 62 years 8 months
58 years 60 years 2 months 43 years 62 years 11 months
57 years 60 years 4 months 42 years 63 years 1 months
56 years 60 years 6 months 41 years 63 years 3 months
55 years 60 years 8 months 40 years 63 years 5 months
54 years 60 years 10 months 39 years 63 years 7 months
53 years 61 years 0 months 38 years 64 years 0 months
52 years 61 years 2 months 37 years 64 years 1 months
51 years 61 years 4 months 36 years 64 years 2 months
50 years 61 years 6 months 35 years 64 years 3 months
49 years 61 years 9 months 34 years 64 years 4 months
48 years 62 years 0 months 33 years 64 years 5 months
47 years 62 years 2 months 32 years 64 years 6 months
46 years 62 years 4 months 31 years 64 years 7 months
45 years 62 years 6 months 30 years 64 years 8 months

Officials aged less than 30 years on 1 May 2013 shall become entitled to a retirement pension at the age of 65 years.

However, for officials aged 43 years or more on 1 May 2013 who entered the service between 1 May 2004 and 31 December 2012, the retirement age shall remain 63 years.