Talks between the ruling coalition and three opposition parties on reforming the Dutch pension system will continue next week and are making ‘step-by-step’ progress, according to prime minister Mark Rutte.
However, there are no guarantees an agreement will be reached before Christmas, Rutte told reporters. ‘We want to ensure a good agreement. I am not the sort of person who likes to drag things out, but this is about quality,’ the prime minister said.
The ruling right-wing VVD and Labour party, together with the D66 Liberals and minor Christian parties, are trying to reach agreement on reforming the Dutch corporate pension system in order to generate major tax savings.
The government wants to reduce the amount workers can put tax free into corporate pension schemes from 2.25% of their gross salary to 1.85%. They also plan to limit the tax break to income under €100,000.
But opposition parties, pension experts and the Council of State have criticised the plan, saying it will be impossible for youngsters to build up a proper pension.
Opponents also doubt government claims that pension funds will cut their premiums in response.
The government needs the support of other parties because it does not have a majority in the senate.
Senate support is essential because the changes are due to generate savings of €3bn by 2017 for the treasury – almost half the cuts necessary to get the budget deficit under control.
According to news agency ANP, the five parties are also looking at possible ways to set up a work-related pension scheme for the self-employed.
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