UK – The UK and Slovenia have been referred to the European Court of Justice by the European Commission for failing to implement the occupational pension funds directive.

The Commission said the “current asymmetric state of implementation prevents pension institutions from providing cross-border services under equal conditions throughout the internal market”.

“The Commission has decided to refer Slovenia and the United Kingdom to the European Court of Justice for not having written Directive 2003/41/EC on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision (the IORP Directive) into their national laws, or for having done so only partially,” the Commission said in a statement.

It added that they have not replied to the Commission's so-called “reasoned opinion” – the first stage of the infringement process – that was sent in April 2006. This move had followed letters of formal notice sent in December 2005.

At the time 11 countries in total were under scrutiny for not implementing the directive.

The directive should have been transposed by all European Union member states by September 23 2005.

The action on the pension directive came amid a wider decision by the Commission to pursue infringement procedures against 14 member states for failing to implement one or more of five different Internal Market directives.

“Although Member States have recently made impressive overall progress in implementing single market laws, some unfortunately still lag behind,” said Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.

“In doing so they are effectively denying citizens and businesses across Europe the full benefit of the single market and of measures their governments have themselves agreed.”