01 Apr 2003

Cross-Border Portability of Pension Rights

An Important Condition for an Integrated Market for Pension Provision

Jørgen Mortensen

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Incompatibility of pension schemes in the different EU member states is major headache for human resource managers across Europe. The lack of pension portability is a source of additional costs for European enterprises, and mobile employees face a bewildering web of pension rights. Removing obstacles to pension portability within the EU should not only reduce these costs, but support labour mobility and increase revenues from occupational pension schemes through greater competition. Ultimately, it fosters the possibility of a pan-European pension fund for all staff members.
This report looks at ways to increase flexibility in the provision of pension services, the role of taxation, and regulatory issues. It examines the position of the European Commission and community jurisprudence in this area, along with the framework for surveillance. Among the recommendations put forward, it suggests that member states agree, through a procedure of open consultation, on ‘best practice’ guidelines for vesting and adjusting pension claims.