NETHERLANDS - Piet Hein Donner is to replace exiting social affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus, Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende said as he announced the new cabinet.

Last September Donner, who served as justice minister in the last three consecutive Balkenende governments since 2002, resigned after controversy about a fatal fire in a Schiphol Airport prison complex.

The ministry says no major alterations to the recently implemented pension system in the Netherlands are to be expected, according to a spokeswoman.

"Except for the [state pension] AOW, the coalition agreement for the next four years does not mention anything about pensions," she added.

Peter Borgdorff, director of the Dutch Association of Industry-wide Pension Funds (VB), told IPE that he looks forward to a cooperation with the new minister: "We know the great care with which minister Donner worked as justice minister and this gives us the feeling that we can work with a diligent and trustworthy minister, which is very pleasant."

Also Borgdorff doesn't expect any major changes in the pensions legislation in the next few years, adding: "But we are still working on the indexation label, the pension register, the research into an alternative execution model, and there will be an evaluation of pension fund governance in 2008".

The most important change will be seen in the state pension AOW predicts Borgdorff, "and in particular the way we as pension executers will have to deal with these changes".

Donner, who is a member of the leading Dutch Christian Democratic party (CDA), was in the midst of the IFRS-debate for Dutch pension funds in 2004 when it became clear that the IFRS accounting rules posed problems for the pensions industry.

Donner has not yet released a statement about the course his ministry will take in the coming four years.