The jury winner for March in the guest photographer contest is Sicco Brand with the photo "Enjoying retirement on the docks of Lisbon" © Sicco Brand 

Setting up an occupational pension scheme is becoming more important given Europe's increasingly ageing population. However, such pensions are of little value to Europeans having to move to another EU country for work. As rules differ between member states, these workers may lose out on the benefits. MEPs discuss and vote next week on rules to better protect these workers' pension rights.

Europeans working in another part of the EU already benefit from statuory pension rights, meaning those provided by the state as they are protected under EU law. But until now, there is no such protection for supplementary pension schemes, which are occupational pensions financed or co-financed by employers.

The EP discusses and votes on an informal deal reached with the Council on new rules safeguarding such supplementary schemes for people working abroad. The rules set minimum requirements, such as a vesting period. This means the period of active membership of a scheme needed  to keep supplementary pension entitlements, which must not exceed three years.The EP insisted that these rules should apply to people working in another member state.

Ria Oomen-Ruijten, a Dutch member of the EPP group, is responsible for steering the legislation through Parliament. After the informal deal had been agreed with the Council, she said:  “European workers can now enjoy full pension rights when they move to another member state. The legislation will help to eliminate barriers to the free movement of workers.”

Once the Parliament approves the deal, member states will have four years to transpose the new rules to national law. You can follow the debate and the vote live on our website by clicking on the link on the right.

About the picture

This article is illustrated with the picture "Enjoying retirement on the docks of Lisbon", taken by Sicco Brand, from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. "This is a couple I photographed in Lisbon on a Sunday, enjoying life on the waterside," he explained. He was the March winner of our guest photographer contest. During the coming months we will announce different topic once a month until the European elections in May.