BELGIUM - Belgian financial supervisors will present the final version of a new law for implementing the EU directive on occupational pensions in the first week of January.

The news emerged at a conference hosted by the Belgian Association of Pension Institutions in Brussels on November 9.

Françoise Masai, a member of the CBFA, which is preparing the new law, said that the government would have to agree on the text before it could go for final approval by the Belgian Parliament, which has already been discussing draft versions.

But Jos Verlinden, a consultant and former chairman of the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP), told IPE that, even once the law has been seen by ministers, it could still take many months before final agreement is reached by both government and Parliament.

“Realistically, we may be talking mid-next year or even 2007 before we see the law in place,” he said.

Verlinden pointed out that, according to data from the EFRP, Belgium is lagging behind in implementation of the IORP directive, with almost all of Western Europe at a more advanced stage of transposition.

In his presentation, Verlinden stressed that the new directive is “an opportunity for Belgium that should not be missed”.

The IORP directive should have been implemented in all member states by September 23 this year, but data from the EFRP suggests that only nine countries made this cut-off-point.