The European Monetary Affairs Committee (EMAC) has voted unanimously to adopt the Karas report on the long-awaited occupational pensions directive by 22 votes in favour to six against.
The key vote means that the pensions directive remains virtually intact following Austrian MEP Othmar Karas’ review and now goes forward to a Plenary of the European Parliament at the beginning of July where it is expected to be ratified.
Significantly, the decision strengthens the shift towards the prudent man investment principle for European pension funds.
It also knocks back proposed amendments from the European Socialist Party for obligatory coverage of biometric risk in pension plans.
Following the vote, Karas, the rapporteur for the Parliament on the directive, commented: “We will discuss my report on July 3 in the morning with the draft agenda and I hope we can decide it on the 4th.
“I am happy that the Parliament has a decision. I think it is a good basis for the next discussion. It was hard work, but it is a good base between more liberalisation for investment to have the basis for cross-border activities of companies, but also with a fundamental compromise for social security.”
However, Karas slammed the Ecofin Council of Ministers for its lack of progress in taking a position on the proposed legislation.
“The Council needs a compromise with the Parliament and the Council now has the chance to discuss also the position of the Parliament.
“I am very angry that the Council is so late, because the proposal of the Commission was made public in October last year.
Finnish MEP, Piia-Noora Kauppi, a member of the Christian-democrat European Peoples Party (EPP) comments “I’m quite happy. I’m not fully happy because it was a compromise. Some amendments, which I would have rejected, were in the compromise. For example, there is the remark that basic decisions in pension schemes in the second pillar have to be made collectively. “ Of course, I think that basic decisions can be made collectively, but what is a basic decision? For example, is the coverage of biometric risk a basic decision? Because I think that it should be done individually,” she notes.