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Dutch pensions get pre-election respite

NETHERLANDS - Dutch politicians appear to be giving the pensions industry the respite from imposing further legislation that it had asked for said Benne van Popta, chairman of the industry-wide pension association VB.

"When we look at the programmes of the political parties for the forthcoming elections in November we see no discussions about the mandatory membership of pension funds, nor about the limitations to the fiscal treatment of pension funds," he said.

"They are doing what we asked for."

Van Popta was speaking in The Hague last night at a VB-organised informal meeting for representatives of Dutch political parties and other social partners.

"Whether or not this is as a result of our efforts we are glad that the politicians are giving us time to implement all the recent regulations."

Van Popta also hoped that there was a recognition that the country's pensions providers had their own responsibility regarding communications with members, and in insuring the stability of the system.

"There is no need to push us."

"What we have experienced in the recent years is that politicians have always been pushing us about communications about solvency about pensions governance in fact about all aspects of pensions."

Currently the parties do not seem to have further ambitions for pensions, judging by their elections programmes.

But, Van Popta added, "Though this what they have written at present, the question is what will really happen?"

He pointed out that previously no political party had asked for the removal of the pre-pension arrangements, so the question is whether the politicians will do something in the future even if they do not talk about it now.

He also noted that the pensions industry and the social partners are very aware of the problems of the ageing society and he asked for time and the freedom to solve these problems. It was not necessary for politicians to interfere all the time, he said.

VB director Peter Borgdorff said that the social affairs committee in parliament would be discussing early next week new pensions legislation and this would be followed by a debate in parliament.

The VB is hopeful that there is a consensus among different parties to extend the recovery period allowed to pension funds in deficit to be increased from the current one-year period to three years.

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