EUROPE - The European Commission is set to publish a draft of a revised IORP Directive by the end of this year, according to Michel Barnier, EU commissioner for Internal Markets and Services.

Because fewer than 80 pension schemes have developed cross-border pension arrangements in Europe based on the initial IORP Directive of 2003, the new draft will focus on transparency to make better use of the directive's benefits, Barnier said during a meeting of the Dutch Pension Federation in Brussels.

Although the new IORP proposals will include solvency rules, the Commission will not make all rules of Solvency II applicable to pension funds, "as we prefer substance to convention", the commissioner said.

However, Karel van Hulle, the Commission's head of insurance and pensions, put the relevance of the solvency rules to the Dutch pension sector into perspective.

"The Netherlands already has its financial assessment framework FTK, which is ahead of Solvency II," he said.

Earlier during the meeting, Barnier described the FTK as "the source of inspiration for European pension legislation".

The EU commissioner praised the Dutch pension system as being "one of the most dynamic in Europe" and reassured his Dutch audience that the Commission would do nothing to "jeopardise the Dutch system".

Addressing concerns about the impact of the EU Green Paper on pensions on the Dutch pension system, Barnier said: "One Europe doesn't necessarily have to be a uniform Europe."

He added that the Commission had received more than 1,600 comments on the consultation paper, which are still being analysed.

Barnier further announced proposals for EU legislation on hedge funds, private equity and rating agencies at the end of this summer, but declined to provide further details.