CMS e-guide: In­ter­na­tion­al Guide to Pen­sions


Pension provision varies significantly across Europe, with both the types and structures of pensions available changing considerably from country to country. According to documentation produced by the European Union in January 2008, nearly 60% of supplementary schemes surveyed in Germany could be described as having features consistent with defined benefit provision, whereas for Poland the figure is only 10%. On closer inspection, a comparison of the specific characteristics of schemes throughout Europe uncovers noticeable differences, as do the regulatory and taxation requirements that apply to pensions.

Against such diversity, homogenisation of pension provision within Europe has provided the focus of recent European Union pensions legislation. The Directive on the Activities and Supervision of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (Directive 2003/41/EC) or “IORP” as it is more succinctly known, took a significant step towards drawing together pension provision across Europe when it came into force in December 2005. This was on the basis that IORP set out the framework by which occupational pension schemes established in one EU member state could engage in cross-border activity.

Certainly, this guide highlights the fact that there is currently significant variation in pension provision throughout Europe, suggesting homogenisation, for the moment at least, remains some distance away.

The CMS e-guide: International Guide to Pensions is only available as an online document, which can be accessed via:


Bernd Roock
Bernd Roock
Of Counsel
Picture of Katarzyna Dulewicz
Katarzyna Dulewicz