Irish private pensions set for boost with new EU pension product – Hayes
Today (Thursday) the European Commission launched its new Pan-European Personal Pension Product (PEPP) – a new standalone personal pension product that can be bought or sold anywhere in the EU. Brian Hayes welcomed this as a major step for the EU and said it could provide a major boost in the take-up of private pensions in Ireland.
“If we get this right, the Pan European Pension product (PEPP) has a real opportunity to improve all our national pension systems in the EU.
“In Ireland we have a pension time bomb coming down the tracks. Only about 41% of the working population is covered by a private pension scheme, whether that is a workplace pension or a personal pension. That means that hundreds of thousands of workers could be dependent on a state pension into the future.
“The state pension system is going to come under increasing pressure into the future. Therefore, we need to encourage Irish citizens to supplement state savings with workplace pensions and personal pensions.
“The EU’s new personal pension product may not be the silver bullet to our pension time bomb but it offers huge incentives for consumers that want a simple, safe and transparent product to help them save for retirement.
“The portability aspect of the product is a real benefit for the modern day workforce as the product can be easily transferred from one Member State to another. It would also make sense that consumers could switch pension providers easily if they can find a cheaper offer in another Member State. Consumers should be able to shop around to get value-for-money products – that’s why we have a single market.
“The Irish government needs to get on board with this proposal to get the best result for people who want to put money aside for retirement.
“There is still a long way to go with this proposal and it has to go through the EU legislative process which requires the approval of the European Parliament and Council. It remains to be seen how the tax treatment of the PEPP will be resolved given that there are 28 different tax regimes that apply to personal pensions in the EU.
“When completed, this will be an important step for the development of a single market for pensions in the EU. I think there is a lot more we can do to integrate our private pension systems and allow consumers to transfer their pension benefits to other Member States.”
Bargain basement financial regulation from the US will not stop European Financial Stability – Hayes
Bargain basement financial regulation from the US will not stop European Financial Stability – Hayes
Speaking today in Brussels at a Euractiv Conference to analysis the direction of financial regulation in the US following Donald Trump’s election, Brian Hayes MEP reiterated that Europe must continue to safeguard EU financial regulation put in place since the financial crisis.
He said: “The reality of 2009 cannot be forgotten in Europe or in the US. Millions of people lost their jobs. Banks across the world collapsed. A financial tsunami, not seen since the Great Depression caused mayhem for ordinary people. This was brought about by light touch regulation and supervisory incompetence. We are not going back to that.
“And while everyone recognises the need for a review of what’s working and how regulation might be improvised to enhance growth and investment, that does not mean that the building blocks need to be knocked down. More importantly, if EU banks are placed in a disadvantaged position because of a US Financial regulatory kick-back, that poses new risks to a financial system that is still only recovering.
“The EU-wide financial legislation put in place since 2009 has made a difference in making sure that EU banks are well capitalised, properly supervised and have now a resolution mechanism to deal with banking collapse. From CRR, CRD IV, Solvency II to banking union much has been achieved. And much more needs to happen especially in the Capital Markets Union space to deliver on new investment in Europe.
“Equally, the Dodd Frank legislation in the US has stabilised the US banking sector. We should never forget that it was the US sub-prime property market debacle that caused the initial phase of the crisis.
“If the new Trump administration wants to radically alter existing financial regulation in the US it would set a poor international standard and make it more difficult to agree international best practice when it comes to financial services. The possibility that Dodd Frank might be significantly altered could itself provoke a new threat to the international financial system.
“Europe must constantly engage with this new administration and with the Congress and Senate. The President, as we saw yesterday in the postponement of a vote on a replacement Bill to Obama Care, does not govern alone. We in the EU need to make the case for international action from a financial stability perspective, to work with the US in setting international standards and in limiting risk and contagion.”
Ireland’s policy on EU opt-outs need to be part of wider Brexit debate – Hayes
In a speech to a Slaughter and May conference on The Future of Europe in Brussels, Brian Hayes MEP today said that in light of Brexit, Ireland must review its policy of opting out of various EU policy areas.
“Ireland’s historical policy of opting out of EU policy areas and legislation, especially in the Justice and Home Affairs area, needs to be reviewed in light of Brexit. Traditionally we have followed the UK where they seek an opt-out from EU legislation, particularly because of our close ties and the existence of the Common Travel Area between both countries.
“However, our opt-out policy puts us at a remove from the core countries of the EU. But without the UK at the table, could we become increasingly isolated as we adopt an à la carte approach to the EU? I believe this question needs to be addressed by all parties in Ireland.
“Effectively we need to do a cost-benefit analysis, setting out the pros and cons of each of the existing opt-outs and justifying why we would continue with that policy.
“Through the Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties, Ireland and the UK secured protocols allowing for opt-outs on immigration, asylum, civil law legislation, police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
“In the past, it always made sense for us to opt-out of policy areas along with the UK, as we were so interconnected on issues like migration, civil law and judicial cooperation. Yet, now the goalposts have drastically shifted with Brexit. Our future is as a fully committed member of the EU. But our continued membership of the EU needs to reflect a more grown up response in the area of common EU action, especially in the new post-Brexit world.
“It would be better to have a national debate on this issue now while the Brexit” negotiations are underway, so that we can arrive at a balanced approach. We should look again at the Schengen free travel area, police and justice cooperation and migration issues, as part of a broader Brexit debate. But our decision to opt in, must be based on clear national benefits to Ireland as a consequence of a change in policy.
“The fact is that there are many sensible pieces of EU legislation that would make our laws more progressive and would put them more in line with international standards. We have to look at this and ask whether Irish citizens or authorities are not missing out from being part of a common EU approach.
“Ireland can at any stage decide to opt in to an EU measure that has already been agreed, however, it does require Commission approval before it can be adopted into Irish law.
“We saw one example recently of Ireland using its opt-in policy to good effect. In 2015, we opted into the EU’s refugee relocation programme, which was a key tool for the EU to address the Syrian refugee crisis. We could have opted out along with the UK and Denmark but took a sensible approach and worked with our EU partners in the solution for one of Europe’s biggest crises.”
Examples of legislation that Ireland could opt into:
|“EU Blue Card” Directive (2009/50/EC): Contains measures to facilitate the admission and mobility of highly qualified migrants to the EU’s labor market by harmonising entry and residence conditions throughout the EU and by providing for a legal status and a set of rights.||Opt-out|
|Regulation (810/2009) on establishing a establishing a Community Code on Visas: Contains measures establishing the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for transit through or intended stays in the territory of the Member States not exceeding three months in any six-month period.||Opt-out|
|Return Directive (2008/115/EC): on common standards and procedures for returning illegally staying third-country nationals||Opt-out|
|Employer Sanctions Directive (2009/52/EC): This legislation provides for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals||Opt-out|
|Regulation (1052/2013) establishing the European Border Surveillance System (Eurosur): This system was set up for cooperation between Member States to improve awareness and increase reaction capability at external borders. The aim is to prevent cross-border crime and irregular migration and contribute to protecting migrants’ lives.||Opt-out|
Unacceptable that the Commission cannot give clarity on impact of CCCTB – Hayes
Brian Hayes MEP today said that it is unacceptable that the Commission cannot give a full country-by-country impact assessment of the CCCTB proposal. Commissioner Moscovici sent a letter in response to Brian Hayes request that the Commission conducts a country-by-country assessment of the impact of CCCTB.
“We have on one hand the Commission telling us that the CCCTB will deliver huge savings to the EU and all Member States. On the other hand, the Commission now says that they are not in a position to do a proper evaluation of the overall impact of CCCTB on each Member State.
“We must remember that this is the Commission’s proposal, they have ownership of it. If they want to convince Member States to back it, they need to have the necessary evidence available.
“How can any Member State logically sign up to a proposal like this when they don’t know the exact impact it will have on their tax revenues? The Commission needs a dose of reality if they want this file to make real progress.
“I believe that the government should continue to engage on this file but ultimately we cannot sign up to anything when we don’t know the full impact on our tax revenue.
“There are still divergent views between IBEC and the Commission on the ultimate impact of CCCTB. At a Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance in January, Commissioner Moscovici said that CCCTB would constitute an estimated loss of around 0.2% on Irish tax revenue. However, earlier this year IBEC said that there would be a loss of around 7.7% of Irish tax revenues if CCCTB was implemented.
“For this reason, we need a public study on the full impact of CCCTB. It is extremely confusing for Irish people to get two drastically different estimates about the impact of this major proposal on our tax revenues. While the Commission is of course on a charm offensive to sell CCCTB, we have to ensure that there is no misleading data.”
Published in the Irish Independent on 19th June 2017
Ireland behind the curve in embracing car-sharing culture
Sharing gets you further, says Hayes
Local authorities can do more to provide alternative modes of transport said Brian Hayes MEP today.
“Car sharing is a concept which is becoming increasingly popular across Europe,” he explained. “Car sharing allows people to hire cars for as little as an hour, using a booking system to reserve the vehicle and in-car technology to unlock the car and drive. It is ideal for people who only need occasional access to vehicle and don’t want to own one. Fuel, tax, insurance and maintenance are all included.
“With just 215 shared cars operating in Dublin and Cork currently, Ireland is lagging behind other small European countries in terms of provision and take-up of this service. Switzerland, for example, has a fleet over 3000 cars, while Italy, Spain, Germany and France also have much higher numbers of car sharing users.
“Car sharing reduces car dependency, congestion, noise and air pollution, and frees up land traditionally used for parking spaces. Each shared car replaces approximately 15 private cars, as well as increasing use of public transport.
“GoCar has been providing car sharing in Ireland since 2008, and has over 10,000 people registered, but with cars in just two of the major cities in Ireland, penetration of the market is limited.
“I am calling on local authorities to engage with service providers to make available space for additional cars. Culturally, there is still a leap to be made with regard to the concept, but with greater numbers of European citizens living and working in Dublin, their habits around car use can and should influence ours. The benefits to car sharing are numerous, for commuters, the environment and the state. Sharing gets you further.”
Note to Editors:
Drivers can visit GoCar.ie/Locations to request a GoCar in a new location, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org