Dutch coalition partners 'postpone pensions reform discussions'
The pending new Dutch Cabinet – which is still engaged in coalition negotiations – is to delay plans for a new pensions system, financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad (FD) has suggested.
Citing sources close to the discussions, it said that the coalition partners wanted to postpone crucial decisions to enable the social partners of employers and workers to come up with their own proposals.
Prime minister Mark Rutte’s party, the liberal-right VVD, is attempting to build a four-way coalition with the D66, CDA and Christian Union parties. The Netherlands has been without a permanent government since March’s election result.
Ahead of the elections, the country’s political parties seemed to be convinced of the need for quick decisions for a thorough update of the pensions system.
Without a new system or a significant improvement of coverage ratios, rights cuts affecting millions of Dutch workers and pensioners would become inevitable in 2020 and 2021.
Last month, negotiations between the social partners in the Social and Economic Council (SER) about a reform of the labour market fell through, but the players are still talking about the pensions dossier.
However, as employers and workers have failed to produce ideas for a new pensions system after more than a year of negotiating, the pensions sector expected politics to take the initiative.
“The update of the pensions system is really a matter for the social partners,” the FD quoted a source close to the negotiations as saying.
The initial assumption was that the SER would come up with a plan for a new pensions system – focused on individual pensions accrual combined with collective sharing of some risks – ahead of last elections.
According to the FD, the social partners are closely in touch with the coalition partners about the subject.
Last month, supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank warned against waning attention for the reform of the pensions system.
Frank Elderson, director of pension fund supervision, said the update was necessary “to tackle flaws, such as an opaque and difficult to justify redistribution” between the high and the low educated and well as between young and old workers.