EUROPE – The meeting of the Council of Economics and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) in Luxembourg yesterday (Oct 16), gave little more than five minutes to the question of the European pensions directive and appears to have made scant headway in bringing a solution to the table for pan-European pension funds.....

The ECOFIN council, presided over by Didier Reynders, the Belgian finance minister took note of the progress being made on work for the IORP principle (Institutes for Occupational Retirement Provision), but added very little.

The Council pointed out that a first reading of the first half of the directive (up to and including article 11) had been finished and that a methodology had been adopted within working groups in order to complete the reading of the remaining articles.

The latter concern more specifically the rules to be applied concerning the calculation of technical provisions and investment as well as cross-border affiliation.

The Council also remarked that a questionnaire relative to the control of IORPs had been sent to member states on September 3, with the aim of creating greater mutual understanding of member state regulations for pensions to which IORPs will have to adhere.

It added that the responses were currently being analysed.

A spokesperson at the European Council declared that there had been a certain degree of frustration at the meeting over the lack of progress in the area.
“One of the key questions is still whether this should be a matter for the European Commission or for member states to decide.”
He noted that the meeting had given little more than “five minutes” to discussion on the pensions question.