EUROPE - The number of cross-border pension schemes operating under the European pension fund directive has risen to 70, says the Committee of European Insurance and Pension Supervisors in its latest survey of market development.

"The results of the 2008 survey showed that 70 cases of cross-border activity existed in the EEA [European Economic Area] as at June 2008," CEIOPS said. That's 46% up from the 48 it counted at the end of January 2007.

Total cross-border activity under the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision directive is now spread across nine home states, compared to five before. The new states are Austria, Belgium, Liechtenstein and Portugal.

"In relation to acting as the host state, we see greater levels of diversity compared to home state designation," CEIOPS said. "We can point to 21 states that have sent across their social and labour law because they are acting as a host state for some IORP members." That's up from 16 at last count, with the new host states being Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.

The committee concluded: "There has been an uplift in the aggregate number of cases, which is significant in percentage terms, although small in comparison to the scale of provision of occupational schemes across the EEA generally."

The news comes as the European Parliament is set to vote next week on a proposal calling for the Commission to review the directive as a matter of urgency.

The vote - on a report by MEP Gabriele Stauner, a member of the parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs - is set for the plenary session in Strasbourg on November 20, according to the draft agenda of the meeting. There is increasing talk that there should be an "IORP II: to replace the existing directive.

The directive was introduced in 2003 and, following a two-year implementation period, has come to be seen in some quarters as a failure.