EUROPE - An EU-wide plan to improve the sustainability and equality of pension schemes has been given the green light.
MEPs approved a green paper, which also advocates pension portability between EU states, by 535 votes to 85 and 57 abstentions.
"Although member states play the lead role, there are aspects where co-ordination at European level is important," Ria Oomen-Ruijten, author of the resolution, says.
"The ageing of the population has a big impact because not all member states have put money aside for their pensions. This could lead to enormous expenses which will have consequences for the stability and growth pact.
"The supervising authority should monitor pension systems and some member states must be encouraged to provide for a safe and adequate pension system."
The resolution says older workers should benefit from workplaces better adapted to their needs and protection against dismissal, given the fact many must work beyond the statutory retirement age.
The green paper also warns the gender pay gap means women receive lower pensions and experience higher rates of poverty in old age. It urges MEPs to address these inequalities and ‘take account of these factors in retirement benefits'.
The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), the CBI and the TUC have all opposed EU plans for a Europe-wide solvency level for pension funds in the past.
Joanne Segars, chief executive of NAPF (pictured), says: "The last thing we need is to make pensions more expensive by introducing new rules based on the Solvency II regime.
"Such rules would work against what the European Commission is trying to achieve and would be damaging to pensions and individuals' retirement incomes. It was good to see MEPs stressing the need for a thorough cost-benefit analysis before any action is taken.
"British MEPs have removed some of the more damaging conclusions from earlier versions of the Parliament's report. But the debate about EU action on pensions will continue."
The Centre for Social Justice is calling for the state pension age to be raised to 70 by 2028 and to 75 by 2035, a much faster rise than currently planned.
The High Court has blocked the £12bn transfer of Prudential's annuity book to Rothesay Life, citing the insurer's lack of "established reputation" and differing "capital management policies".
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