EC pensions tax MEP calls on Commission to act

EUROPE – Ieke van den Burg, the Dutch MEP and European Parliament rapporteur on pensions taxation issues, is calling on the European Commission to present an action plan on pensions by the time of the EU summit in Barcelona in Spring 2002.

Van den Burg, a member of the European Socialist Party and a substitute member of the parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (EMAC), presents her report on taxation to the EMAC committee on September 12.
Talking to IPE-Newsline, she says one of the proposals in her report is that the Commission should adopt a position on pensions before Barcelona.

However, Van den Burg says she has changed her position on Frits Bolkestein’s tax communication, having been resistant to what she previously dubbed a “watered-down directive.”
“We had a hearing and there was a change of view.
“Most of the members decided that it wasn’t realistic to expect a directive and this was the background for Bolkestein’s decision.

But she believes that there is much more to do on pensions than the Commission has suggested in its communication.
“Bolkestein is only looking at one aspect, discrimination and that is only for a minor group – people who are moving between countries and want to stay in their home state pension fund.
“ I will also looking at quality aspects for pensions and at trying to make pensions part of the open co-ordination policy of the EU started in Gothenburg and Stockholm.
“ I want to get the tax question on to the agenda and I think it has to be included because it is linked to labour mobility and the future of pensions.”

The rapporteur says she also wants to see bilateral tax issues shifted to a multilateral level and will include more practical suggestions on cross-border information sharing for pensions in her report.

She adds that pensions is an issue that is “top of the agenda” for next Spring’s summit of EU leaders in Barcelona and also that it is a priority for the Belgium leadership of the EU and the forthcoming Laken summit.

Following the presentation of her report, there will be a deadline for amendments and a possible EMAC vote in October, before it goes to the plenary.

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