Europe is a key topic at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2017. Watch the session on Prosperity in the Age of Longevity here.

Ageing populations and the pressure they put on state pension coffers have forced many governments around Europe to raise the age of retirement.

There are significant variations, though, as a recent report from the EU statistics office, Eurostat, shows. Eurostat measures how long a person aged 15 is expected to be active in the labour market.

Malta, where the pension age has risen to 65 for both sexes, added the greatest number of working years between 2005 and 2015. The Maltese have to work an extra five years compared to a decade ago.

Some European countries, including the UK and Germany, have raised their retirement ages by fewer years, but to a higher age bracket. Retiring at 67 or 68 will be the rule rather than the exception in future. Moreover, men’s and women’s pension ages are increasingly being aligned, putting them on a level pegging.

The countries that added the most years to their working life
Image: Indy100

So, if you’re dreaming of retiring as soon as possible, which are the best countries to move to?

According to Eurostat’s 2015 report, working life is shortest for Italians, at just under 31 years. If you want to retire in warmer climes you could also consider other southern European countries such as Bulgaria, Macedonia, Turkey, Greece and Hungary, where you can stop working after around 31 or 32 years.

If you are not looking for the archetypal ‘place in the sun’, then you could opt for Belgium or Poland, where people enjoy similarly short working lives, at 32.6 years – significantly less than their northern European neighbours.

Iceland tops the list of European nations that have to work the longest, with a whopping 46.6 years – nearly 16 more than Italy. The Swiss can expect to work for more than 42 years.

Amongst EU members, Swedes get the worst deal: their expected working life extends to more than 41 years. Next is the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and Germany with between one and three years less than Sweden.

Average expected years of working life in the EU in 2015
Image: Indy100