Belgium’s political parties have formed a task force working with Phillip Neyt, managing director of the Belgacom pension fund, at the behest of Prime-Minister Guy Verhofstadt, to propose a framework for the country’s future retirement system.
At a meeting last month, the group formalised opinions, which have arisen from a number of discussion forums. And these will be presented to the Belgian council of ministers before the end of April.
Neyt, comments: “Until now we had concentrated on producing an inventory of the Belgian pension system and some ideas of what we want to achieve in the future, such as clarifying the role of the first, second and third pillars in Belgium.
“What you see is that there is not a lot of coherence at present, there are companies who take initiatives but there are no sector pension plans.
“It is a very complicated system and the fiscal choice of vehicles and social situations are very different. We knew that a lot of people were not covered by pensions, but we also wanted to know the reasons why.”
Neyt says it is not the onus of government to decide on sector plans though: “This is a union and employer matter, but we should probably create the framework within which they can operate. We want much more involvement from employees in their pension plans.”
Neyt, the only independent industry member of the working party, says this is the first meeting carried out on the basis of written documents. “What I think we will see is the representatives from the Belgian political parties will take their positions on the notes I have made and there will undoubtedly be differences between what the socialists, labour and conservative parties want.
“However, I think there will be some common views on issues such as the level playing field, coherence, simplicity and portability of pensions. Hugh Wheelan