EUROPE - The European Commission is "unjustly meddling" with the Dutch pensions system and making an "already difficult situation worse", Dutch social affairs minister Henk Kamp has claimed.

During an interview with a Dutch television show earlier this week, Kamp said: "We have the best pensions system in the world - why should Europe explain us how to run our business?"

The social affairs minister was responding to recent comments made by internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier, who suggest that Brussels was planning to make Solvency II rules for insurers applicable to pension funds.

If this were to happen, Dutch pension funds would have to increase their financial buffers by more than €80bn, "which means the money can't be paid in benefits", Kamp said.

The minister dismissed the application of Solvency II rules to pension funds as "unreasonable".

"Pension funds manage assets saved by workers and employers," he added, "and this is different from insurers that run a commercial business."

In a recent interview with news weekly Elsevier, Kamp described Barnier's proposals as "unacceptable" and demanded the commissioner distance himself from the plans.

He also claimed the European Commission had become involved in "too many senseless things", such as forcing hairdressers to don footwear with non-skid soles.

"I am spending up to a quarter of my time fighting these sorts of plans," he said.

In the minister's opinion, Europe should focus on the core tasks of safety, prosperity and internal markets.