EUROPE – Belgium is adding its voice to a growing chorus of opposition to European Commission moves to include Solvency II-inspired measures in revisions to the IORP Directive.
The Commission is set to publish revisions to the 2003 directive in June.
Belgium now joins as the fifth country in the protest group including Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and the UK.
Those governments formalised their opposition to any possible inclusion of the controversial measures in IORP II in 2012.
The Belgian announcement was made by Alexander De Croo, deputy prime minister and minister for pensions, speaking at a meeting organised by the Belgian Association of Pension Institutions (ABIP).
De Croo said it would be "unwise" for Michel Barnier, the commissioner for internal markets, to come up with a proposal for a new directive before the summer, as prudential supervision for pension funds was "too important a subject to be dealt with hastily".
If allowed to happen, this would "do damage" rather than provide a worthwhile solution.
De Croo said he was following the file closely, as he was "fully aware" of the importance of the legislation – both for those closely involved and for "our whole economy".
Also speaking at the ABIP meeting, Tom Sallis, senior policy adviser at the UK Confederation of British Industry's Brussels office, warned of the dangers resulting from a "Solvency-II inspired regime" for pension funds.
For the UK, he said, the initial impact could be a squeeze on shareholder funds, a cut in jobs and wages and a drop in procurement funding.
A "plausible" direct cost for UK business could be €440bn, he said.
There would also be a negative impact throughout the EU, just taking into account cross-border links from British industry, Sallis said.
He estimated that the likely impact on the real economic output of other EU states, due to the impact on UK funds alone, would be €33bn.