EUROPE - The European Parliament should not attempt to rush through the Commission's response to the Green Paper, the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) has warned.

Addressing a seminar on pensions organised by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, its chief executive Chris Verhaegen said parliament must not fall back on "old and wrongful habits" of rushed legislative action.

Verhaegen said such attempts worried the industry, as it could indicate the holistic approach taken during the initial consultation was at an end.

"The main recommendation for the Commission when tabling initiatives dealing with pensions is to carefully consider the diversity of pension systems, as well as the diversity of the various pension institutions and pension schemes," she said. "In short: deal with diversity, please."

She argued that the draft report singled out a number of pertinent issues, including the need to cultivate a mixture of both first pillar and second-pillar systems across the EU.

Verhaegen also highlighted the pension industry's discomfort with legislation that mirrored insurance regulation too closely.

Alluding to the application of Solvency II, she said: "We want to draw your attention to the fact the large majority of stakeholders, including the social partners, are hugely concerned that concepts borrowed from insurance legislation would be applied to work-related pensions.

"Those concepts and principles focus on short-term security and, hence, cannot be applied to long-term orientated pension institutions."

She added that capital buffers are an inadequate risk-absorption mechanism.

Verhaegen also cautioned against attempting to harmonise employment law where it touched upon pension matters, saying it would create an inconsistent system where some issues were dealt with on an EU level, with the remainder being left to the individual member states' parliaments.

She said the most sensible approach for cultivating cross-border pension transfers would be a European matrix from which both employers and employees could clearly identify where capital transfers were possible.

As an alternative, she suggested that a tracking system be developed by the industry, allowing assets to remain in the scheme, but be drawn by the individual when the time came.

She concluded her address by highlighting that three in five Europeans in the workforce do not benefit from occupational schemes and that the most important work would be to promote such initiatives, rather than stifling their development.