EUROPE - The European Parliament has agreed to apply a judgment to all members of the MEPs' pension fund if it loses a legal action over changes to the ABSL voluntary pension scheme, and not just to participants who pursue the case.

Sixty-five existing and former MEPs have filed a legal action in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the European Parliament after it approved changes to the scheme that extended the retirement age from 60 to 63, and abolished early retirement and lump sum payments.  (See earlier IPE article: MEPs launch legal challenge over reforms)

However, as the European Parliament is not a national parliament if the case is successful and the changes are overturned, the ruling would technically only be in favour of the 65 MEPs taking part in the legal action.

Lawyers representing the MEPs had asked the Parliament to confirm if it would apply the  judgement to all scheme members should it lose the case, and despite an initial rejection, the Bureau of the European Parliament eventually confirmed at a meeting earlier this week that any decision in favour of the 65 participants would be extended to all members.

The legal action was launched by MEPs in May, and supported by the ABSL pension fund, after the Bureau made changes to improve the liquidity of the fund, which saw its deficit quadruple from €30m in 2007 to €120m by the end of 2008. (See earlier IPE article: MEP's pension faces reforms to cut deficit)

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