Dutch political parties have responded predominantly positively to the recent breakthrough between the country’s cabinet and its social partners in fleshing out last year’s pensions agreement.
However, some opposition parties condemned the proposals, with a socialist party (SP) member of parliament (MP) describing the new arrangements as a “gamble pension”.
Roald van der Linde, pensions spokesman for the liberal party and government coalition partner VVD, said the elaboration of the pensions accord was “excellent news”.
“It makes pensions comprehensible, as you know what has been invested for you,” he said. “Moreover, we will get rid of the discussions about the discount rate for liabilities.”
Steven van Weyenberg, MP for coalition partner liberal democrats (D66), described the result as “a more individual system, balanced for all generations, with less promises but with better perspectives for a proper pension”.
He noted that 90% of pension premiums in the new contract will be added to pension assets reserved for the individual participant.
However, Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian democrats (CDA) – also a coalition partner – refrained from commenting on the outcome for now.
Omtzigt is usually keen on knowing the details of arrangements, which are expected to be published on Friday.
Gijs van Dijk, MP for labour party PvdA, also responded positively. However, he hailed the “protection of workers, the options of early retirement, the slowdown of the rise of the retirement age for the state pension (AOW) and the prevention of unnecessary rights cuts” as the main achievements of the accord.
“A more individual system, balanced for all generations, with less promises but with better perspectives for a proper pension”
Steven van Weyenberg, MP for coalition partner liberal democrats (D66)
However, Bart van Kent, MP for socialist party SP, argued that the cabinet and the social partners had squandered “the best pensions system in the world” and that they had opted for a “gamble pension”, with an increased susceptibility to the daily volatility of the financial markets.
He wondered who was going to pay for the transition, adding that merging existing pension rights with future accrual violates “earlier agreements and claims”.
50Plus, the party for the elderly, contented that the accord will make the “unnecessary drop of purchasing power for millions of pensioners permanent”.
It argued that the abolishment of the discount rate for liabilities shows that looming rights cuts would never have been necessary.
It is expected that the Dutch cabinet will discuss the conclusions of the negotiations between Social Affairs’ minister Wouter Koolmees and the social partners next Thursday.
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