Plans to create a single market for personal pensions should not be seen as undermining the second-pillar system, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has urged.

Chairman of the organisation, Gabriel Bernardino, told delegates at the EIOPA conference on Personal Pensions in Bratislava, that plans to create a European-wide single market were for the benefit of citizens, providers and the Union.

Bernardino said sometimes the debate over pension provision in Europe becomes thwarted by ideology, but this should not be the case.

He also stressed personal pension provisions are not be there to undermine state offerings but act as a supplement.

“This is the problem we have in Europe, it is not always about right or left thinking,” he told delegates.

“There are things the private pension system can do that the public system cannot.

“This is not a fight between occupational and private pensions. I wish to have a robust and well-developed second-pillar system, but that is not the reality.

“We have to the responsibility to bring solutions that match the reality.

“It is not about whether we have just the occupational pensions or the private pensions system. It is about having sound frameworks.”

Bernardino also reiterated EIOPA’s plans to consult with the industry on whether to create a new Directive to introduce common rules for current and future third-pillar savings or create a new regime entirely.

He said there was ”a strong case for a new Directive” whereas creating a second regime would require further cost-benefit analysis, investigation into making it only for defined contribution (DC) vehicles, and ensuring the right balance between cost and design.

Responding to Bernardino’s comments regarding any fight between second and third pillar systems, PensionsEurope secretary general, Matti Leppäla, said while the organisation supported third-pillar savings, they had different priorities.

“This is not about ideology,” he said, “but we think there are more advantages in good occupational pensions than private pensions.

He said second-pillar trust pensions not having to sell to clients made all the difference in cost, and there is an alignment between schemes and members.

“The issue is about how to enhance private savings, but at PensionsEurope, the view is that occupational pension systems should be given the priority,” said Leppäla