EUROPE - A Brussels conference organised by the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) was told not to expect a firm proposal from the European Commission on the IORP directive until next year.

Karel Van Hulle, head of unit, insurance and pension at the Commission, told delegates that, on 7 April, Brussels had formally asked the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) - formerly the Committee of European Insurance and Occupational Pension Supervisors (CEIOPS) - for its advice.

The deadline for delivery was set at 16 December.

Van Hulle said EIOPA was expected to submit its views on the directive some time in 2012, adding: "I leave it to you to guess when in 2012."

Referring to responses to the recent consultation exercise on the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) directive, he noted that respondents had suggested pillars two and three of Solvency II did contain "useful principles to promote good governance and transparency".

For pension funds, a reasonable picture of liabilities and assets - such as sponsor covenants - was being requested, he said, adding: "We need to decide what liabilities need to be funded."

On portability, Van Hulle said: "We don't want a Europe of one-size-fits-all, but if you want cross-border operations, you have to have more harmonisation."

Fritz von Nordheim, policy coordinator for pensions at the Commission, highlighted the fact many young people across the EU were employed on irregular or temporary contracts that might go on for five years or more.

This, he said, will be "catastrophic" for saving for entitlements. 

Von Nordheim, who pointed out that the Commission's role was not as a regulator, but as a policymaker, said Europe had to "come back to affordability" with respect to new regulation.

He added that pensionable ages would eventually "go up to 70 - and even higher than that".