CEE pension associations formed an ad-hoc working group during an August 2006 meeting of pension representatives in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The idea began with the associations of Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland. They had come to the conclusion that the CEE pension markets possessed quite distinct features from those of western Europe, and that the nature of pension reforms undertaken were not fully understood by the pre-2004 enlargement EU members, the EU-15. The three were joined by associations in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Key issues revolve round the IORP directive, feelings that the EU authorities have little understanding of the structure and workings of their systems and a lack of support from their own authorities in the face of EU strictures.
Symptomatic of the resulting frustration was the Polish Chamber of Pension Funds' withdrawal from the European Federation for Retirement Provision (EFRP) shortly after joining. The EFRP subsequently backed the launch of a Central & Eastern European Forum (CEEC Forum).
"The basic reasons why the forum could be useful for all Europeans, east and west, is that their supplementary systems are radically different," Csaba Nagy, president of the Hungarian Association of Pension Funds, who was named chairman of the CEEC Forum, told IPE at the time. "The west Europeans primarily have occupational pension funds and this definition is not yet accepted in central and eastern Europe."