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Belgium moves towards industry pensions

BELGIUM - The Belgian government has taken an important step closer to the introduction of industry-wide pension plans after the Vandenbroucke law passed its final hearing in the country’s Parliamentary Finance and Budget Commission.

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstad has made the long-awaited Vandenbroucke law a priority for introduction by the government before parliament begins to wind down at the beginning of April ahead of general elections in May.

The law, named after Frank Vandenbroucke, the Belgian minister of social affairs and pensions, sets out a framework for the introduction of sector-wide, defined contribution-type occupational pension arrangements, which the Belgian government hopes could increase pension coverage to around two-thirds of the population.

The law will now go before a plenary session of the Belgian Parliament on March 12.

Two parts of the Vandenbroucke law, those concerning prudential rules and social matters, were approved by the government commission last year.

The latest parliamentary session saw the commission look at fiscal issues, particularly regarding the so-called ‘cafeteria plans’ that are to be included in the legislation.

The Vandenbroucke proposals look set now to make it into the Belgian law during April.

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