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Barnier writes to correct Express on Pensions scare story

August 3rd, 2012

On August 1st, The Daily Express published a front page article with the banner headline “Euro Rules to Ruin Pensions”. European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Michel Barnier wrote directly to The Express with clarifications of  factual errors and assurances that the Commission would not undermine the national occupational pension system. The letter was published in the letters page of the Express on August 3rd.


Dear Sir,

I take issue with your article “Brussels threat to pension and jobs” (1 August). It contains a number of factual errors and misunderstandings.

As I have stated publicly on numerous occasions, the European Commission does not intend to copy the so-called Solvency 2-rules from the insurance sector to pension funds. Neither does the Commission intend to undermine or penalise national occupational pension systems by making them more expensive for employers.

What the Commission will do is review the current EU rules on pension funds which date from 2003, well before the outbreak of the financial crisis. The aim is to ensure that all pension funds are safe, solid and able to deliver on their promised guarantees to employees so that proper pensions will be paid not only to those who retire today but also to future pensioners. No final decisions have been taken and I have asked the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority to conduct a quantitative impact study on possible future changes, in order to test the real impact of possible new measures and give all stakeholders an opportunity to participate in the process.

Michel Barnier

European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services

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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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