The European Parliament (EP) Committee on Legal affairs and Citizen Rights is throwing its weight behind DGXV commissioner Mario Monti's proposals for legislation on European supplementary pensions.

In its response to Monti's Green Paper of June 1997, set to be published later this month, Enrico Ferri, charged with producing the EP re-port, supports the need for legislative action to enable pension funds to op-erate under the freedom of investment.

The report also backs the establishment of a prudential framework to guarantee the need for security that future pensioners are entitled to.

Current lack of such a law, he says, is inhibiting funds from exploiting the potential of the single market to the full.

Pension funds do not yet have a European passport, he points out. The draft report also lends its support to the idea of pan-European pension funds.

Referring to the SAFIR ruling of the European Court of Justice, Ferri calls upon Monti's taxation policy group to take appropriate measures to minimise tax barriers and remove the present deterrent against cross-border pension schemes.

The report is broadly supportive of the commission's analysis of the future demographic explosion and its consequences for public expenditure.

And in support of Monti, Ferri agrees that pension funds are essential supplementary vehicles through which to support the cornerstone of European social security retirement welfare.

Chris Verhaegen of the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) in Brussels says this is the first hurdle towards establishing truly workable 'European' pensions. A pan-European pension system can't be created overnight, but the first solution is a situation where tax doers not act as a barrier to authorities accepting deductions in one member state for contributions paid in another.

"The final goal of course is a single authority for pension funds to report to, and the possibility of cross-border membership for every member of every European pension scheme," she adds.

Kees van Rees, chairman of the EFRP, says the report will be a 'major contribution' to the debate on European supplementary pension reform. However, he feels the role of social partners in organising adequate occupational schemes needs stronger em-phasis in the parliament's proposals.

"Occupational pensions are an important condition of employment in many countries, whether negotiated between employer and em-ployee, collective employee contracts or industry sectors. Their omission in the draft report should be rectified before the final version is presented for discussion in the EP," he stresses.

He also argues that a workable definition of 'prudential standards', re-cognising the particular pensions conditions of each EU member state would also be essential for any future meaningful debate. Hugh Wheelan"