Portability of pension rights
Revised proposal back on table
By Sophie Petitjean | Wednesday 18 July 2012
The Cyprus EU Presidency has decided to resume discussions on the portability of pension rights on the basis of the draft directive presented in 2005 and revised in 2007. This draft directive aims to eliminate the obstacles to free movement between and inside the member states. The Lisbon Treaty opens up new possibilities since the text now has to be approved by qualified majority (rather than unanimously). As a result, the European Commission will not make a “new” proposal and the talks should resume on the basis of the modified proposal at the end of the year, in the Council’s working group on social issues.
The proposal for a directive on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights (COM(2005)507 final), presented in 2005, aimed to improve the portability of supplementary pension rights. It concerned the access to supplementary pension schemes (duration of qualifying periods and acquisition of rights upon entering the scheme), the preservation of rights and the transfer of rights.
At the time, the Commission’s ambition had been stunted by the lack of homogeneity in the way the issue was dealt with in the EU. Some countries, such as Germany, do not have company schemes, while 75% of Swedes between the ages of 20 and 64 contribute to such schemes. Following the European Parliament’s vote, the Commission chose to modify its initial proposal by removing the provisions on transferability and replacing the notion of harmonisation with that of minimum requirements.
Nonetheless, talks at the Council continued to stall over the period of time before acquring rights.