EUROPE - Frits Bolkestein, the EC's internal market commissioner, has responded to recent criticisms of the proposed Pension Funds Directive.
In July, Theresa Villiers, the UK’s Conservative MEP for the London region, deputy leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament and spokeswoman on economic affairs, warned that the directive faces a bumpy ride, and said: “There is a danger that the Parliament will once again attempt to furnish the directive with various social policy details, which must be avoided.”
Bolkestein replied: “The social and re-distributive implications of the reform of our pension systems are vitally important to the maintenance of the European social model and of ensuring a decent standard of living for all retired people. A debate on these issues must take place.”
Responding to concerns over the issue of taxation, Bolkestein added: “The element of taxation is also of great importance for the efficiency of any pension scheme. The problem of tax obstacles to cross border provision of occupational pensions has to be tackled.
“I would like to stress that the Commission would very much like to hear from companies and employees if they have encountered instances of tax discrimination.”
The European pensions directive is expected to return to the European Parliament in Q3 for its second reading.
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