EUROPE – The European Parliament has set up a pension forum, backed by Dutch civil service pension fund ABP.

The European Parliamentary Pension Forum, chaired by Dutch Socialist MEP Ieke van den Burg, had its first meeting in Brussels today.

The new forum comes a week after the European Commission set up occupational pensions regulatory and supervisory committees.

Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, Europe’s largest pension fund, is sponsoring the forum and will fund its operating costs until parliamentary elections.

The forum’s steering committee comprises van den Burg, Austria’s Othmar Karas, Germany’s Wilfried Kuckelkorn and Bartho Pronk of the Netherlands as well as industry bodies the European Federation for Retirement Provision and the Comité Européen des Assurances. Karas was the Parliament’s rapporteur for the pan-European pension funds directive.

EFRP secretary general Chris Verhaegen said the forum, which is similar to the European Parliamentary Financial Services Forum, would enable a “more holistic” approach to the pensions debate at the European level.

The forum says it is “intended to facilitate and strengthen the exchange of information on pensions and related developments” between the pension industry and MEPs.

The forum will take a “neutral stance” on various retirement provisions and will abstain from making political statements.

On the agenda are sustainable pensions, the impact of stock market declines, EU enlargement and new regulations.

“National pension system reforms to meet the need for sustainable pensions are high on the European agenda,” said Daniel Schanté, director general of CEA, the European insurance body.

“CEA is prepared to play a key role in initiating and stimulating public debate on European retirement issues. The insurance industry has an important contribution to make.”

The forum's work progamme will be established in the next week or two, a spokesman said.