By Ben Simmons

The European Commission's pensions White Paper has been welcomed by business representatives and pensions providers alike.

In a rare attempt to address the €1.9 trillion pension deficit before it explodes into another crisis that threatens Europe’s unity, the paper ‘An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions’ outlines a clear agenda to build a more stable pensions platform for EU residents.

Commenting in response to the paper are Aviva and the UK’s Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Igal Mayer, Aviva Europe CEO said:

“We welcome the Commission’s support for the concept of annual pension statements for all EU citizens. This would allow them to compare projected retirement income against their own expectations and take action as a result. However, Europe’s €1.9 trillion pension gap cannot be reduced with a single solution. Individuals can make a significant positive impact to their retirement income by saving more and saving earlier, yet Aviva’s “Mind the Gap” research shows that consumers are ignoring the warning signs, creating a gap between retirement expectations and actual levels of saving.”

Mayer continued, “The Commission also discloses plans to present an initiative aimed at improving the quality of private pension products by 2013. This initiative must consider both the effectiveness of existing incentives for pension saving and how to create conditions which allow providers to demonstrate the quality and security of products, facilitating comparability and increasing consumer confidence.”

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment, comments:

“The European Commission’s White Paper is right to focus on promoting sustainable and affordable pension schemes, including the promotion of longer working lives and greater pension saving.

“Nonetheless, our concerns with the IORP (institutions for occupational retirement provision) Directive remain. We are unconvinced Commissioner Barnier has moved on from his proposal of applying Solvency II-style regulations to pensions, which would be hugely damaging to the economy and job creation.

“The IORP Directive must place a greater emphasis on growth to better complement the overall direction set out by today’s White Paper, putting pension affordability at the heart of the debate.”

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