NETHERLANDS - The troubled portability directive has come under fire yet again; this time the Dutch employer and labour foundations have asked their government to formally reject it.
The two organisations recently wrote to social affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus asking him to veto the embryonic legislation, and they called on other European countries to do the same.
Gerard Verhea, director of pensions at the Dutch employer organisation VNO, co-wrote the letter of complaint together with the other foundation, under their umbrella organisation Stichting van de Arbeid.
“We have many problems with the directive,” said Verhea.
The letter pinpointed various issues, arguing there was no uniformity in the legislation’s accounting rules, and that the directive did not help taxation problems arising from the numerous differing systems.
Verhea also said the concept text appeared only to apply to a minority of the countries, he mentioned The Netherlands, the UK, Ireland and Denmark.
All the other countries appeared to be exceptions, he complained, noting the directive appeared not to apply to France and Italy’s pay-as-you-go system, or Germany’s book reserve system.
Together with the labour foundation, Verhea also took issue with the fact the directive sought to formulate the levels for indexation.
“That is the responsibility of the employers’ and employees’ social partners,” he argued, “not a responsibility for the parliament.”
“Every minimum level costs a lot of money,” added Verhea. “You have to guarantee those minimum levels and therefore you need buffers, which makes the pensions more expensive.”
While the organisations accepted the aims of the directive were broadly correct, they said it should be replaced by another form of regulation, or at least subjected to intense revision.
“Europe is not ready for this kind of regulation, our primary problems are not solved,” said Verhea.
He said he hoped the issues could be ironed out and that Europe would be ready within five to 10 years.
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