BRUSSELS- The occupational pensions directive is due to be discussed tomorrow at Coreper, the group of member states' permanent representatives, before it is passed on to ECOFIN next week. According to a member of one of the pensions working groups, it is likely that Coreper will reach a common position, despite there still being slight discord among some member states.
Member states’ working groups met for the last time on Friday to try and reach an agreement but according to a representative on one of the working groups, four member states- France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal are believed to be unhappy with the directive in its present state.
Details of the disagreements have not been published but should be more forthcoming after tomorrow’s meeting. The same representative describes the grievances as small and ones that are likely to be resolved. All the remaining member states are in line and a consensus for forwarding to the ECOFIN meeting next week is said to be likely.
Coreper is responsible, at a preliminary negotiating stage, for helping the Council deal with the Commission’s proposals. Legislation heading for Coreper is graded as having either one or two points. The former means it has been agreed on, normally at Attaché level. The latter, into which the directive falls, often means there is further need for debate before the legislation gets passed to the Council.
There are two degrees of Coreper - I and II. The latter is more senior, being comprised of permanent representatives, and is the one convening to discuss the directive. The idea is to iron out any problems before it is passed on to the Council. It is also responsible for preparing the Council’s agenda.
In it latest guise, the directive takes a two tier approach, treating domestic and cross-pensions differently. Investment restrictions at present are that funds invest no more than 5% in one stock and no more than 10% in stocks from a single group.