Retraites professionnelles d’entreprise et libertés économiques
Occupational Company Pensions and Economic Freedom
This article is to consider reconciling the exercise of economic freedom in European Union Law with the introduction of occupational pension schemes which can guarantee a secure and reliable system to beneficiaries.
This important question has already been the subject of Directive 2003/41/CE of June 3rd 2003 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision.
But the system is seriously flawed due to various factors.
The first relates to differences in social legislation between member states. Occupational pension institutions, which carry out cross-border services in Europe, have great difficulty meeting the rules of labour law and social protection of the country where the services take place. Coordination between member states concerning the knowledge of these laws is still working very badly.
The second is due to differences in control and supervision systems of financial institutions among member states. These differences came to light during the economic crisis in 2008.
To respond to the dangers of financial imbalance, The European Union, as recently as November 2010, has adopted a European System of Financial Supervision, whose purpose is to identify and address systemic risks. This reform will level accounting and financial standards particularly in the field of insurance and occupational pensions. This positive development does not, however, solve all the difficulties.
Indeed, institutions for occupational retirement most often transfer the financial risk and sustainability of occupational pensions onto the “beneficiaries”. Institutions most often put the weight of the insolvency risks of their institutions onto employees or the self-employed and provide social protection systems with defined contributions rather than those with defined benefit.
For these reasons, the security of occupational pensions in Europe is still evolving.