GERMANY – Hans Eichel, Germany’s finance minister, has made further suggestions on how the state’s pension system should be changed. In an interview with ‘Focus’ magazine, Eichel explained that self-employed citizens, civil servants and politicians should be contributing to the country’s social security system for their retirement provision.

At present, the three groups are excluded from contributing towards a state pension, and civil servants and politicians often enjoy larger retirement payments from the state than other German workers. Eichel, with the backing of Green Party and social minister Ulla Schmidt has pleaded for equal contributions and state benefits for all citizens. Last week, the German parliament approved a motion to raise employers’ pension contributions to 19.5%.

Klaus Stiefermann, general manager for ABA, the Association for Company Pension Schemes, points out, however: “The government is addressing the vast issue of pensions in Germany, although it doesn’t want any major reforms. It must be remembered, however, that simply adding new people, such as the self-employed, civil servants and politicians, to the social security system is great in terms of the extra revenue going in, but these same people will also be receiving benefits. The problem is merely being shifted towards the future.”

Stiefermann also believes that changing the long-standing legislation to ensure payments by politicians and civil servants, will be a complicated task.