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Norwegian pension reform facing delay

NORWAY - The proposed reform of Norway’s state pension system is now unlikely to become law until after 2005’s general election, a political advisor says.

“The Socialist Party, the Labour Party and the Progress Party do not want to discuss pension reform in the current parliament,” Inger-Marie Ytterhorn, political advisor to the far-right Progress Party, said in an interview with IPE. “This will be good for us because it will give use more time to prepare our case and build support.”

“The delay means that the pension reform will now be a big issue in the election campaign,” Ytterhorn said.

Prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik had wanted the bill to become law in the current parliament.

The all-party Pension Commission, of which Ytterhorn was a member, presented the reform proposals to the government in January after nearly three years of preparation.

The proposals aim to cut the costs of state pension provision by increasing the number of years required to accumulate a full pension from 40 to 43 years.

They also recommend that the rule whereby the 20 best earning years are used to calculate the pension be replaced by a calculation based on the full working life.

Additionally, people will be incentivised to work for three years beyond the standard retirement age of 67 through a system of bonuses. While the right to retire from the age of 62 will remain it will carry a financial penalty.

Villeman Vinje, political advisor to the Conservative party, noted that the proposals would probably only receive selective treatment by parties eager to make political capital.
“It’s so easy to select elements of a complex reform and use them for an election campaign.”

“Labour just wants to wait until it is elected and then it will introduce the same proposals with small changes in the next parliament.”

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