NETHERLANDS - The head of the Dutch employers federation said the concept of collectivism in Dutch pension schemes will more limited in future – although he rejected a complete shift to a US-style defined contribution system.

Jacques Schraven, president of the Vereniging VNO-NCW, the Federation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, said that the core of the Dutch pension system would remain based on collectivism and solidarity. “But the scope of the collectivism will be more limited,” he said.

Speaking at a meeting of the Corporate Pension Funds Association, the Stichting voor Ondernemingspensioenfondsen, Schraven also issued an urgent call for a “realistic supervisory framework” to help overcome current problems. The VNO-NCW wanted a “modern and payable pension system” for everyone at 65, albeit with flexibility.

He added that something similar to a "British pension drama" could happen in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile the VNO-NCW has published, with its Irish counterpart the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, a position paper about the priorities for the Dutch and Irish governments’ presidencies of the European Union in 2004.

“The progressively ‘greying; population will burden the European economy far more than it will the US economy over the coming decades,” they said. “The EU faces the prospect of crippling pension costs; this will demand reform of pension systems.

“In addition, the effect of our stagnating and ageing working population, which is an impediment to growth, will need to be offset by stronger productivity performances.”