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IORP rapporteur urges Brussels to back pensions working group

A Dutch MEP has suggested the revised IORP Directive should be used to encourage the growth of occupational pensions rather than simply focus on matters of governance and risk management.

A draft report by Jeroen Lenaers, acting as rapporteur for the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee (EMPL), recommends changes that emphasise that the “introduction of occupational retirement schemes in more member states [sic] remains crucial”.

The change was proposed to replace the European Commission’s emphasis on an internal market for occupational pensions that would help foster growth and boost employment.

The report by Lenaers, a member of the European People’s Party, also suggested the Commission take account of the need to grow the second-pillar system by providing “significant added value at Union level” by helping coordinate cooperation with individual social partners.

It was suggested this would be made possible by a high-level group of experts to “investigate the most important questions concerning pensions policy”, with proposals being put forward on how second-pillar savings rates could be boosted.

The proposal is not dissimilar to the Commission’s earlier work on the White Paper on Pensions, which, among other things, proposes various methods by which member states can boost the number of workers contributing towards occupational schemes.

The Dutch MEP’s suggestions largely mirror the changes proposed last year during Council of the EU discussions between member states – stripping out the more onerous aspects of the Pension Benefit Statement, for example. 

In the preamble preceding the amendments, Lenaers said: “The rapporteur has tabled this opinion with the aim to strike the right balance between, on the one hand, the need to have high European standards with regard to governance, supervision, information and transparency, while on the other hand taking into full consideration the much-needed flexibility for member states to efficiently and successfully adapt these standards to suit their specific national situations.”

The report was presented to the other members of EMPL at its most recent meeting on 5 March, with the MEPs asked to propose changes to the Lenaers document by 19 March.

A second, more crucial report is currently being drafted by Irish MEP Brian Hayes on behalf of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.

Hayes was appointed alongside Lenaers and a number of shadow rapporteurs in early January.

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