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Timetable unclear for EU portability directive

EUROPE – The European Commission is unable to say when it will present the planned draft directive on pension portability.

The Commission said last year that it would present a draft directive on occupational pension portability in the first quarter of 2005.

“The document is still under consultation,” a spokeswoman at the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs said. She said there had been no delay - but was not able to say when the draft would be presented.

She said the document requires comment from all DGs – and that the employment department would then assess the proposals before it goes to the Commission college, the weekly meeting of commissioners.

Georg Fischer, head of the employment DG’s unit for social protection, pensions and health told a conference in December that the draft would be presented in the first three months of this year.

“This directive will reduce the obstacles to mobility created by rules on supplementary pension provisions and enable workers to exercise their right to free movement more effectively,” he told the meeting in Leuven, organised by the European Association of Paritarian Institutions.

A pensions portability directive has been on the cards for some time. In April last year IPE reported that Jérôme Vignon, director of the employment DG, confirmed it was planning a directive.

The European Parliamentary Pension Forum said at the time that the Commission had decided on a so-called “minimal harmonisation” approach because “the water between the social partners has proved to be too deep”.

Vignon said that the Commission was preparing an impact assessment study of such a directive.

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