By Laura Blows
The European Commission’s white paper on pensions contains policy initiatives that are ‘critical and controversial’, the European Association of Paritarian Institutions (AEIP) has claimed.
In February the EC published its white paper on pensions, which enlists 20 policy initiatives aimed at achieving more adequate, safe and sustainable pensions for European citizens.
In its responding position paper, AEIP expressed concern that some proposals concerning occupational pensions could threaten the smooth functioning and even the very existence of those pension schemes. It also criticised the insufficient distinction in the white paper between occupational pensions, which in many countries stem from collective agreements, and individual retirement savings not linked to employment.
Regarding the IORP Directive review, AEIP “strongly rejects” a Solvency II-type quantitative framework for pension funds and “deeply regrets that the white paper calls for a ‘level playing field with Solvency II’, which would create a de facto competition with the insurance companies”.
AEIP criticised that the illegal work issue is not mentioned in the paper, “as undeclared jobs do not only harm the public finances and social security systems, but also mean unpaid contributions to occupational pensions”.
It also expressed disappointment that the white paper does not extensively tackle the issue of arduous professions when discussing the issue of retirement age.
However, AEIP welcomed the “holistic approach” adopted by the EC white paper and in particular praised the initiative to draw policy proposals for pension policies by exchanging good practices involving the stakeholders. However it would prefer a survey of existing best practices to be conducted, instead of establishing a code of good practice. It also highlighted the development of pension tracking services as a beneficial policy initiative.