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Swiss support grows for re-negotiation of AV2020 pension reform

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Swiss news daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) has joined a chorus of voices calling for the complete re-negotiation of the Altersvorsorge 2020 pension reform package.

In an article published, yesterday, the newspaper said there were arguments in favour of “re-opening the mammoth template”.

A re-negotiation, it said, would reduce the risk of “being left empty-handed in the end – as was the case in recent years after several attempts”.

Interior minister Alain Berset presented the AV2020 reform package, which calls for changes to the second and first-pillar pension systems, a year ago.

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The Ständerat, the Swiss Parliament’s smaller chamber, did make a number of amendments, but it approved the overall plan in mid-October 2015.

But on the weekend after the approval, general elections were held in Switzerland, leading to a slight shift to the right with the conservative SVP and the FDP gaining a joint majority in the larger chamber of Parliament, the Nationalrat.

In the winter session of Parliament in December, the new MPs will take their seats, while the members of the parliamentary commission on social security and health questions (SGK) will also have to be re-elected.

Although it is remains unclear how Parliament’s new make-up will affect the details of the AV2020, the Nationalrat is widely expected to make changes.

One change expected by many industry experts is a hike in the retirement age, which the centre-left party SP has opposed to date.

A recent survey among the 200 newly elected or re-elected MPs showed a majority supporting an increase in the retirement age above the age of 67.

According to the survey by the Basler Zeitung, “more than 80%” of conservative MPs would vote in favour of a retirement age at 67.

The Nationalrat is also expected to change the first-pillar pension hike introduced to the reform package by the Ständerat.

The parliamentary representatives had agreed to grant everybody receiving a pension from the first pillar a monthly increase of CHF70 (€57) to compensate for cuts to pensions from the second pillar once the reform took effect.

This measure, however, has come under fire.

Jérome Cosandey, researcher at Swiss think-tank Avenir Suisse, said the measure was like using a “hose to water daisies”.

For more on the long-running AV2020 saga, see the December issue of IPE magazine

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