Belgium set for massive pensions bill
7 May 2004, BRUSSELS - In line with most of the rest of the developed world, Belgium is set to see spending on state pensions skyrocket over the next 30 years.
7 May 2004
BRUSSELS - In line with most of the rest of the developed world, Belgium is set to see spending on state pensions skyrocket over the next 30 years.
Belgian Labour Minister Johan Vande Lanotte said on Friday that spending on pensions and care for the elderly would represent around 3.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2003 and 2030.
Like other developed countries, Belgium has an ageing population.
Put simply this means that while birth rates are falling, the number of people reaching retirement age is on the increase.
To deal with this demographic reality, Vande Lanotte said the most important thing Belgium needs to do is reduce unemployment so that as many working people as possible can pay into the state pensions system.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt added on Friday that Belgium needs to start investigating ways of topping up traditional pensions programmes with other schemes.
He called on Belgian trade unions and employers to discuss the question of supplementary pensions as soon as possible.
Unions have traditionally been sceptical about private pension plans, arguing they encourage employers to shirk their responsibilities.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news