Once again, the federal government missed the deadline: the (new) pension reform is not ready in time. For example, Belgium is – at the moment – losing a European amount of money, around 850 million euros. Vivaldi is now aiming for March – although the government doesn’t want to commit to a deadline.
FME and YAKD
Special Reports, Belgium
To withdraw Europe from the valley after the Corona crisis, the European Commission withdrew its portfolio. Belgium will receive at least €4.5 billion of that European pot – to be divided between regions and competency levels.
The commission attached a series of conditions to these funds. Belgium has now cleared a lot of (difficult) files – like greening company cars and rolling out the 5G network. But the pension reform that the federal government would have to implement from Europe in order to get that money in, is hanging like a stone.
After more than a dozen marathon meetings, the Vivaldi government reached a pension deal last summer — to little applause, even from its coalition partners. Then it also turned out that the fix was nothing more than a cost saving or budget neutral operation. What’s more: It would seriously increase the cost of pensions – already one of the largest items of government spending.
This was in direct contradiction to European directives and the federal government’s self-imposed requirements. And so Pensions Secretary Karen Laleaux (PS) has had to go to the drawing board again. Her first proposal to cut the pension premium – a minimum intervention – was rejected by coalition partners. They would rather go further than last summer.
With a proposal for significant pension savings, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo (Open Vld) mid December Then again PS anger on the neck. As a result, the pension discussion has been put in the fridge for a while and the European deadline of January 13th has not been met.
Everything in one pile
In consultation with the Commission, Belgium decided to wait with the request to pay the first installment of the recovery money – about 847 million euros. This was confirmed by the Secretary of State for Recovery Thomas Dermin (PS) to our editors. As long as the federal government doesn’t manipulate pensions, they won’t be able to receive that much money.
Vivaldi does not want to set a new deadline for it. In all likelihood, it will be brought together with tax and labor market reform, the budget review scheduled for March.
Belgium is not the only country that has requested a postponement of the deadline. Noting that Germany is in the same situation, Dermin noted on Radio 1 on Friday, “This will not affect the implementation of projects,” as confirmed by Foreign Minister PS.
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