BELGIUM – The Belgian government and the country’s social partners have taken a significant step forward in the promotion of the Vandenbroucke law on sector-wide pension plans by issuing a joint statement calling for industry heads to introduce funds in the greatest number of sectors possible.

The statement, signed by Frank Vandenbroucke, the Belgian minister of social affairs and pensions and endorsed by Belgium’s largest unions, including the FTGB (Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique) and the UCM (Union des Classes Moyennes), encourages employers to begin introducing the sector funds at the next round of employment negotiations and to make preparations “from today” for their implementation.

Significantly, the declaration also brings on board the unions over the question of the Silver Fund, the reserve the government has initiated to alleviate future pension demographic shortfalls.

The communication also notes that the development of the sector pensions regimes - guided by the social partners in conjunction with pensions organisations – will be overseen by a “Pensions Commission”.

The Belgian government is currently considering the final amendments to the Vandenbroucke law before its full ratification.