Directive on ice after Monti goes
The publication of former DGXV Commissioner Mario Monti’s directive on European pension funds has been put on ice, following the shock resignation of the EC en masse.
The directive, due to be approved and published before the end of March, now hangs in the balance, awaiting the outcome of urgent European government discussions at the Berlin summit.
Yvette Chrissantonis, member of the DGXV pension fund working group, says: “Monti has confirmed that following the mass resignation everything involved with the publication of the directive and his work on the issue has been blocked. Our understanding is that this is just a delay and the directive will be published shortly.
“For the time being Monti is carrying out his former functions in a caretaker role, but he has clearly expressed the urgent need for this directive to go ahead, whoever has the responsibility for its implementation.”
A spokesperson for the EC, commented: “We still expect the White Paper on financial services to be ratified by the autumn, because the initiatives have the backing of the Financial Services Policy Group, brought in by Monti to give the policy communication a stronger multilateral European emphasis.”
Chris Verhaegen of the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP), added: “As far as we know David Deacon of DGXV is currently looking at the pensions liability issues of the directive, prior to its imminent approval and publication.
“But at this moment we are as much in the dark as anyone as to the impact of the commissions resignation on the reform programme.
“It might just be a bit of current news with no lasting effect, but then again who knows - it is such a dramatic turn of events that anything could happen.”
And speaking at the Financial Times conference in Brussels on March 18, EFRP chairman Kees van Rees took the opportunity of fervent EU pension discussion to remind some member states of their “insignificant steps to develop occupational pension schemes through fear of reforming their budgets.”
“As you sow, so shall you reap,”he declared, whilst congratulating Spain, Italy and Portugal for their initiatives in this area.
His criticisms, however, were clearly aimed at continuing opposition towards what he termed: ‘qualitative and dynamic prudential control for supplementary pension scheme investment based on the prudent man principle’.
“I apologise that we have to repeat these things so many times, but member state representatives in European Council meetings still don’t like this message. I call on all of you here to go to your governments and explain these basic needs of pension funds if they are to expand and deliver the correct benefits in a cost-effective manner, he told the conference.” Hugh Wheelan