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Ecofin to adopt pension directive

EUROPE - The Council of Economics and Finance Ministers, known as Ecofin, is set to adopt the occupational pensions directive “without discussion” tomorrow.

“The Council is due to definitively adopt without discussion, the Directive on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision,” the council said, in the agenda for the meeting.

Ecofin is set to meet in Brussels tomorrow, at which it will agree on the text adopted on March 12 at second reading by the European Parliament.

“This will be a major step towards the creation of an internal market for occupational pensions, under a prudential framework strong enough to protect the rights of future pensioners,” it added. “The directive will ensure that occupational pension transactions attain a high level of security and efficiency.”

The council said the institutions covered by the directive -such as pension funds and superannuation schemes -manage assets worth around 2.5 trillion euros, or 29% of European Union gross domestic product.

The directive is due to be implemented by EU member states within 24 months of its publication in the EU's Official Journal.

Ecofin is also expected to ask the Economic Policy Committee to prepare a progress report on the overall impact of ageing populations on public finances, in time for the Ecofin meeting of November 4. The European Commission says it supports this decision.

“A new set of common projections on age-related expenditures should be carried out by mid-2005,” the Commission says. “These will be based on the new common demographic projections that Eurostat will produce by mid-2004.”

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