EUROPE - Six of the 25 EU member states won’t be ready for the EU directive on occupational pensions when it comes into force on September 23, says EU insurance and pensions commissioner Karel van Hulle.

Van Hulle, speaking at a summit organised by merchant bank NIBCapital in Noordwijk, said the six would however be ready by the end of the year.

Asked by IPE he declined to name the countries, but earlier during the event he indicated that Italy is struggling to complete the process. Van Hulle stressed there won’t be a delay of the implementation of the directive.

Recent consultations with the member states have confirmed again the huge differences between pension systems within the EU, Van Hulle explained.

“Some members – like the Czech Republic and Estonia – don’t have company funds or industry-wide schemes. And not all are yet sure they want to introduce them either. But Hungary has announced it will introduce these second-pillar schemes, Van Hulle told IPE.

He announced more clarification on the EU website on the conclusions of the recent consultations. “How to organise the communication between the competent authorities, what kind of information needs to be introduced and what if pension funds run different schemes, are among the matters that still need to be solved”, he said.

“The harmonisation of social and labour laws is an issue as well.”

Van Hulle indicated he will ask all EU countries for reflection. “The Dutch pensions industry should think about the mandatory participation in industry-wide schemes and the introduction of the full solvency framework,” he added.

The European commissioner announced an evaluation for further improvements of the directive, formally known as the directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision, within four years of the implementation.