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IPE special report May 2018

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Dutch minister in talks with member states to block IORP reform

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  • Dutch minister in talks with member states to block IORP reform

NETHERLANDS - If the European Commission forces through its plan to treat pension funds on par with insurers on the issue of solvency, it will cost Dutch pension savers "an arm and a leg", according to social affairs minister Henk Kamp.

In a letter to parliament, Kamp warned that pension funds would need to maintain unnecessarily high additional buffers of approximately €80bn.

He said this was the reason why the Netherlands had opposed the Commission's plans since 2009.

"Since the first signs of Brussels starting preparations for updating the IORP Directive, we have taken co-ordinated action," he said.

"My predecessor, Piet Hein Donner, for example, has clearly indicated since 2009 that we are disagreeing on the plans for the review of the Directive."

Kamp said he was doing his utmost to prevent the Commission from "undermining" the Dutch pensions system, but he conceded that the Netherlands lacked the influence to oppose Brussels' plans on its own.

He said he was working closely on the issue with Germany, Ireland and the UK, which have also voiced strong objections against the anticipated reform of the IORP Directive.

"We have already taken joint action, and we will continue to do so at the right moments," Kamp said.

He acknowledged that even concerted action by Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK, however, would not be enough to achieve a blocking minority, and said he hoped to win additional support from other countries.

"A number of member states are considering their opinions, while others are waiting for the proposals for the IORP update," he said.

"They know the Dutch worries and objections against the planned update. This provides a sound basis for a future blocking minority."

Under EU law, the European Commission must reconsider any proposal rejected by more than one-third of member states.

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