EUROPE - The European Portability Directive which lost its commitment to cross-border transfer rights in October has hit another obstacle, with member states unable to agree on a common vesting period.
The meeting came after the European Commission accepted amendments by the European Parliament to the Portability Directive which removed the possibility of workers moving pension accruement with them around the continent.
Judith Donnelly, managing associate, Linklaters, said it was disappointing the directive had hit another impasse. She said: "The fact that the member states cannot even reach agreement on something as relatively simple as a vesting period for preservation of pension rights shows that a single market in pensions is not at present even a realistic aspiration."
In a statement released prior to the meeting, the EU's EPSCO Council, which looks after employment, social policy, health and consumer affairs, said worker mobility within the continent was a key issue: "As supplementary pensions will be an increasingly important element of incomes in retirement in the coming decades in many member states, it is crucial that those workers who are mobile get the maximum benefit also in terms of preserving their pension rights."
As a result of this deadlock, the Portuguese presidency handed the issue to Slovenia, the next country to take the mantle.
Donnelly concluded: "The IORP directive created as many problems as it solved for pan-European pension schemes, in particular by requiring them to be fully funded. In this context, lack of further European meddling could be viewed by some as a welcome development."
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