EU pensions forced to disclose pension liabilities
The European Parliament voted yesterday to insist that EU governments put all data on their unfunded pension liabilities into the public domain.
Until recently, this was the case in the UK too. But in April of last year, Britain became the first EU country to comply with the new EU rules in advance, with the Office for National Statistics setting out a total pension liability, public and private, of £7.1 trillion.
That was made up of about £2 trillion of private-sector liabilities, plus £5 trillion that the government must pay in respect of both the ordinary state pension, due to all workers who have paid enough National Insurance, and the pensions it owes to workers in the NHS, civil service, armed forces and schools.
Unfortunately, four large member states were reluctant to have mandatory transmission of pension liabilities data, which the Parliament saw as a blatant attempt to keep potentially embarrassing information out of the public domain and away from calculations.
The countries in question were Germany, France, Portugal and Spain, but their objections now seem to have been overcome.
Yesterday’s vote was the Parliament’s formal ratification of the final agreed text. The Council still has to ratify, but it would be highly unusual for it not to do so, following the negotiations.
Nigel Green deVere Group