Two countries that joined the EU only in May, 2004 - Estonia and Latvia - rank among the region's top four for pensions provision, according to the latest annual European Pensions Barometer rankings from Aon Consulting, the pensions and benefits consultancy.
Both Baltic states relegated the Netherlands and the UK to fifth and sixth place respectively in the survey.
Denmark emerged as the best placed country among the 25 EU members to provide its citizens with adequate pensions.
Portugal, ranked top ranked last year, slipped to 13th place this time due to improvements in demography and private pension provision by other countries and the inclusion of new EU countries in the survey.
The British pension system ranks sixth out of 25, even though the UK has the least generous state pension system in the EU.
This is because of relatively favourable demography - in particular people do not retire as early as in many other EU countries - the historically strong private pensions system, and the affordability of Britain's state pension.
Donald Duval, chief actuary at Aon, commented: "Although the UK is better placed than many other EU countries, the inadequacy of the state pension is a persistent problem, and the decline in company pensions, caused by over-regulation, means that the UK ranking is likely to decline in future.
"An apparently surprising feature of the Barometer is the strong performance of some of the recently joined countries such as Estonia and Latvia.
"However, this is primarily due to the poor mortality and relatively late retirement experienced in these countries, which makes it possible to provide relatively generous state pensions at an affordable cost.
"As the mortality in these countries improves - which one would hope would be accelerated by their joining the EU - then pensions may become more of a problem."
A separate survey from consultants Mercer Investment Consulting reveals that fewer than a third of members of British money purchase pension schemes understand the investment choices they need to make, even though their eventual pensions depend on the success or otherwise of these investments.
Members of these "defined contribution" schemes bear the entire investment risk, but little more than a quarter of them claim to understand how equity and bond funds work.
The Mercer survey covering members of 670 money purchase schemes from 550 companies found that only 33 per cent grasp the principle of cash funds.
Mercer said these findings highlighted the extent to which members of such schemes need more education to make better investment choices, specially in the light of the Government's recent proposals to offer a wide range of investment options in its new personal accounts.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they had a reasonably good knowledge of how their pension builds in value over time, but 80 per cent are unsure of what an annuity is.
Faced with a selection of investment options, nine out of ten said they would find it easier to choose if the funds had less technical, more descriptive names like 'high growth/high risk' and 'low growth/low risk'.
But most are dubious about emotive fund names like 'adventurous' or 'cautious'.
"Many employees in defined contribution pension schemes have limited knowledge of investment funds. As the information is so complex a lot of people will struggle to understand the difference between funds, much less choose which ones to invest in," said Patrick Race, at Mercer.
"Funds offering different levels of risk, with jargon-free names, go a long way to help scheme members make the difficult decisions they now face."
Surprisingly, over a third of the respondents thought they would switch their savings between investment funds at some point to produce the best possible pension.
"Our experience shows that few pension scheme members get around to switching their investment funds," Mr Race added.
"The majority of people opt for the default fund as it is the easiest option, though not always the most appropriate.
"This sort of member behaviour puts a lot of responsibility on those selecting the default fund, so it is vital these people have the required expertise."
The survey also found that 38 per cent would want their money invested only with a fund manager they have heard of, although the majority would consider managers they don't know if the performance record was positive.
Mercer's Ashish Kapur commented: "Government proposals to introduce branded funds into personal accounts will not necessarily help members make more appropriate investment decisions.
"More forward-looking information based on relevant and objective criteria needs to be made available to members to prevent what can often be a vicious circle."