EUROPE - Brussels again issued a warning on the delay around the "slow" progress of the pensions directive in view of the year-end deadline. The update follows the meeting of EU economic and finance ministers in preparation for next week's Barcelona summit. Brussels is now eager to translate words into hard political agreements. European commissioner for the internal market and taxation, Frits Bolkestein set out the Commission's goals on financial services for the summit.
Barcelona should reinforce the message that integrating financial markets is a prerequisite if the EU is to achieve its goal of becoming the world's most competitive economy by 2010, he said.
He praised developments, such as the European Parliament agreement over the Lamfalussy proposals regarding securities market legislation and the prospect of a “rapid agreement” on proposals concerning market abuse, insurance intermediaries and international accounting standards.
But Bolkestein was critical over the logjam surrounding the pensions directive, reiterating the December deadline: “I underlined my serious concerns over the slow progress on the proposed pension funds and prospectuses directives. Both should be definitively agreed by the end of this year.
By Madhu Kalia
UK inflation unexpectedly rose to 2.7% in August, beating analysts' expectations of a drop to 2.4% from 2.5% the previous month.
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) helped 187,000 people in 2017/18, a 9% fall on the previous year despite setting up special helplines for specific scheme members.
The Liberal Democrat party has passed a motion pledging to cap tax-free lump sums under Freedom of Choice at £40,000 if elected into government.