SPAIN - A delegation of Basque Country representatives is examining two models of territorial pension funds with the aim of creating a single scheme for all its governmental departments.

The delegates met with PensPlan, the pension services provider of the semi-autonomous Trentino Alto Adige region in northern Italy, earlier this month as well as Solidarieta' Veneto Fondo Pensione, Venice's regional pension fund for blue-collar workers.

Francesco Briganti, a legal adviser with the European Association of Paritarian Institutions (AEIP), which has a task force dedicated to territorial social protection schemes, told IPE the two funds are different as PensPlan very much engages the regional government, whereas the Venetian fund was set up by the social partners and had to lobby the regional government of Venice.

According to Briganti, the Basque country already has some experience of social protection organised on a territorial basis, but is looking to set up more schemes with a particular focus on pensions, to include all its governmental departments.

Representatives of Basque Local Government and PensPlan already met at an AEIP conference in Brussels last December said Briganti, adding both were interested in each other's experiences.

"Within the framework of the AEIP we have arranged these meetings - one in Bolzano and one in Venice," Briganti told IPE.

Because of its autonomous status, the Basque Country has not had to follow all of Madrid's legislation on pensions.

The AEIP's task force meets every two months, with the next meeting scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday), to discuss "best practice" among pension funds.

The organisation said it is trying to meet more local and regional social protection schemes to facilitate an exchange of best practice and experience "because we realise that these local and regional pension and health schemes are rising in Europe," concluded Briganti.

PensPlan has already joined the AEIP's Task Force for Territorial Social Protection schemes working group, but AEIP is hoping also others will join.

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