GERMANY – ABV, the association representing Germany's Versorgungswerke, has vowed to oppose government plans to include self-employed in the first-pillar state pension scheme.

Under current legislation, self-employed professionals such as lawyers, doctors and notaries are exempt from paying into the first pillar.

They save for their retirement in so-called Versorgungswerke, of which there are 89 in the 16 German provinces for the various professions.

The opposition parties are now thinking to include these professions in a mandatory first-pillar saving scheme to increase contributions to the state pension system, as well as to improve "solidarity" in the system, as most of the self-employed are relatively well-off.

Hartmut Kilger, recently re-elected as chairman at the ABV, said he would fight against a mandatory inclusion of the self-employed in the first pillar, taking the case all the way to the federal constitutional court if need be.

He argued that the Versorgungswerke did not "owe society" when it came to the notion of solidarity, as they did not burden taxpayers.

He also pointed out that the Versorgungswerke covered the increased longevity risk of their members "at their own expenses", and that they were operating "without tax contributions".

"The Versorgungswerke are sustainably funded and will not be needing financial aid from the state," he added.

In April 2011, Kilger had taken over the chairmanship of the ABV from long-term chairman Ulrich Kirchhoff, who retired for health reasons.

Kilger was now been re-elected unanimously, with Helke Stoll and Brigitte Ende serving as his deputies.