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European Commission - Press release
Pension funds: Commission refers Poland to Court and calls on Estonia to comply with EU rules
Brussels, 16 June 2011 - The European Commission has today decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU for failing to fully implement the Occupational Pensions Directive into national law.
This directive, which allows pension funds to manage occupational pension schemes for companies which are established in another Member State and allows a pan-European company to have only one pension fund for all its subsidiaries across Europe, provides many benefits both for employers and employees.
Furthermore, the Commission has also sent Estonia a reasoned opinion for not fully and completely implementing the Directive into national law. If Estonia fails to take satisfactory measures within two months, the Commission may decide to also refer Estonia to the EU Court of Justice.
What are the rules in question? Before the Occupational Pensions Directive (2003/41 EC) entered into force, occupational pension providers operated for the most part only in the Member State in which they were established. This meant for example that a firm with a presence in ten Member States had to call on the services of ten different pension providers. The Directive means this is no longer necessary, allowing for economies of scale – hence cost savings for employers and employees alike, as well as for a higher level of protection.
How are Poland and Estonia not respecting the rules? The deadline for implementing the entire Directive into national law was 23 September 2005, but both Member States have failed to implement a number of its provisions.
How are citizens and/or business suffering as a result? As these two Member States have not implemented a number of the Directive's provisions, it means common rules on pension funds are not upheld at the same level across the EU, meaning, for example, that Polish and Estonian members and beneficiaries of occupational pensions might not have the same level of protection, legal certainty and guarantees as elsewhere in the EU.
Latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States:
For more information on EU infringement procedures, see MEMO/11/408