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Former finance minister promotes pension reform

If Swiss voters don’t accept the reform of the old age pension system, it’ll be a disaster, says former finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. She explains her view in Sunday’s SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

Widmer-Schlumpf, now the president of Swiss senior advocacygroup Pro Senectute, told SonntagsZeitung that there were “no alternatives” to the Swiss government’s proposed “Old Age Security 2020” reform plan. She described the plan as “balanced”, noting that it is a compromise that will provide a financially stable foundation for several years.

“CHF70 ($73) more pension money [per month] for new retirees – counter-financed by an increase in the wage contributions of employers and employees by a total of 0.3 percentage points – will not throw the pension system any more out of balance,” Widmer-Schlumpf said. She argues that such a reform would provide “a healthy financial basis” that would secure pensions for over adecade.

She does not agree that the reform would come at the expense of young people.

“We must, and with the reform we can, relieve young people of today’s cross-subsidization of pensioners,” said Widmer-Schlumpf, pointing out that as finance minister she and her team had made various calculations. “At the moment there’s no alternative,” she added, explaining that failingto take action now would mean higher debt in the pension system and much more drastic action in ten years.

This related article explains what is at stake in the proposed pension reform: