NETHERLANDS - Henk Kamp, 58, has been officially nominated as social affairs minister in the new Dutch cabinet, which is expected to be inaugurated later this week.

Kamp - a member of the liberal party VVD - will succeed Piet Hein Donner, a Christian Democrat, who is to become the new home secretary after four years at the helm at social affairs and employment.

Kamp has been minister of housing, spatial planning and environment (VROM), as well as defence minister from 2002 to 2006.

During a four-year period in parliament, he served as spokesman for social affairs and employment.

As of January 2009, Kamp has been commissioner for Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, responsible for overseeing the process by which the three Caribbean islands became special-status municipalities within the Netherlands.

Among the files on his desk, the new social affairs minister will find the pension agreement between the social partners of employers and employees.

In June, the social partners agreed the official retirement age for the state pension AOW would rise from 65 to 66 in 2020. In their opinion, retirement at 65 should remain possible, but against 6.5% lower benefits.

At the same time, employers and employees agreed the retirement age for additional pensions would remain flexible and be linked to life expectancy.

In the governing agreement - "tolerated" by the anti-immigration party PVV - the minority cabinet of VVD and the Christian Democrats (CDA) indicated that they intended to raise the AOW age to 66 and that they wanted to further link the AOW age to life expectancy.

In addition, VVD and CDA said they wanted to limit the tax facilitation for second-pillar pensions in 2013.

Employers' organisation VNO-NCW welcomed the new social affairs minister and said his first priority should be to complete the pension file.

Agnes Jongerius, chair of union FNV, said: "We'd like to hear from Kamp that he will adopt the agreement on AOW and additional pensions."