Pension rights: transfer or not?

Pension, Special Report

Pension rights transfer ‘gone down the drain’ paid back after retirement

Four members of the contract staff of the Court of Justice transferred their national pension rights to the EU pension scheme. The administration had not given them any hint of a ‘minimum subsistence figure‘, which applied in their case.

Only afterwards, they discovered that, with or without a transfer, the pension they could expect to receive would be the same.

After a legal dispute which lasted 7 years, the General Court suggested to them the possibility of claiming their money back. To keep it short:

Once the damage you claim to have sustained has become ‘real and certain’, i.e. once your pension has been calculated and you find out that the transferred capital did not have a positive impact on the amount of your pension, you can ask for the return of this capital, on grounds of unjust enrichment on the part of the Union.

This case law sets a precedent for all those who find themselves in a similar situation.


Within a period of 10 years and 6 months since entering the service of the EU, the staff member may request the transfer of pension rights which he / she has acquired under a national pension scheme. The transfer, once made, becomes irreversible.

This is why, before signing an application to transfer your national pension entitlements, think twice and seek advice from your union as to whether, given the effect of the minimum subsistence figure rule, this transfer is likely to produce more favourable results than keeping your national pension.


You can find the Pension rights transfer file here.

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