Building political support for Slovakia’s pension reforms

In the late 1990s, the Slovakian government embarked on a set of economic reforms, which included pension reforms. The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family (MOLSAF) – the agency responsible for implementing the reforms – was aware that it was essential to secure political will for such radical public changes. So, MOLSAF launched a comprehensive communication and influence campaign aimed at winning the support of the MPs and other decision-makers. Activities such as the following were conducted: (1) Analysis of the key political groups to address them separately with specific messages; (2) Preparation of an “influence pack”—a set of arguments and information about the forthcoming pension reform tailored to different target groups; (3) Regular workshops and seminars with the media, opinion leaders and MPs. Following the campaign, approximately 1.7 million Slovaks, or close to 30 percent of the population, subscribed to the pension reform, thereby locking it into the financial system. Slovakia’s pension system became rated among the most progressive in Europe in the late 1990s.