The European Commission is aware that it may be necessary to contribute to funding the rollout of the European Tracking Service (ETS) on Pensions for mobile workers.

“We have received and taken good note of the report from the [ETS] project team, which puts together a detailed vision of how the next years and the development of the European Tracking Service can realistically look. We have taken note of the proposal, and we have taken note of the need for the European Commission to co-finance the rollout stage,” said Valdis Zagorskis, pension team leader at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL), yesterday at an ETS event held at Humboldt University in Berlin.

The Commission is funding the pilot stage of the ETS project – a continuation of the earlier Track and Trace Your Pension in Europe (TTYPE) with the aim to help mobile workers track their pensions and providers across Europe – with €1.7m, out of total costs of €2.1m, with the remaining part being funded by a consortium of partners.

The consortium of eight European partners include the Belgian social security databank Sigedis, Dutch pension providers APG and PGGM, the Swedish Pensions Agency and the German supplementary pension provider for public sector employees Versorgungsanstalt des Bundes und der Länder (VBL), European industry organisation AEIP, the Swedish tracking service and the Belgian Federal Pension Service (FPS).

Michael Rasch, executive director at Insurance and Pension Denmark (IPD), said that one aspect is the financial risk in the early years of life of the platform, that has to shift away from the national tracking services.

“We would like to join [the ETS project] but what is important for us is the financial risk of entering early,” he said, adding that the Commission could partially or fully own the platform, or a private-public partnership could be set up, as the platform becomes more stable with other countries joining.

Didier Weckner, chair of Union Retraite, underlined that governance of the ETS project has to be strong, transparent and efficient, while services should be provided quickly, or at least within a reasonable amount of time.

For Konrad Haker, vice chair of the steering committee at the central agency for the German Digital Pension Overview (Zentrale Stelle für die Digitale Rentenübersicht), one of the main problems is identifying people entitled to benefits.

Bernard ter Haar, chair of Stichting Pensioenregister (SPR) in the Netherlands, said that moving forward it would be useful to try to combine the national tracking systems to build an European tracking system, following a step-by-step approach.

Europe map

 ETS portal will serve mobile workers who have accrued pensions in different member states

The consortium of partners in the project has meanwhile proposed to set up an ETS association under German law to move the ownership of the ‘Find Your Pension’ portal and infrastructure from the consortium.

It is following the technical advice published by the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) on the ownership and governance of pension tracking systems, pointing at the private-public partnership to run the ETS organisation in the future.

The public-private partnership would also be the preferable option to run the ETS system for the consortium, according to Claudia Wegner-Wahnschaffe, ETS project manager.

The ETS consortium has built a pilot website during the pas three years under the existing address

The ETS pilot operates through the ‘Find Your Pension’ portal and a proof of concept linking the pension tracking system in Belgium with ETS.

The portal will serve mobile workers who have accrued pensions in different member states, giving information on statutory, occupational and private pensions in different countries, helping to find pension providers through a pension compass and giving an overview of the entitlements through a dashboard.

The consortium of European pension providers worked on the ETS project following the call of the European Commission for the “development of web-based cross- border pension tracking services”.

The Commission has chosen a stakeholder-driven approach to design the ETS pension platform, and it is working, Zagorskis said.

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