Europe as alibi for raising pension age to 67?

21 November 2009

Europe as alibi for raising pension age to 67?

Is forcing people to work until they're 67 now the new norm in Europe? Because they have decided to do this in Germany? In the SP's view, it's rather questionable to single out only those EU member states which have raised their pension age, ignoring the rest.

Dennis de Jong“This type of comparison is only made in order to justify running down our own social and welfare system,” says SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. “In Belgium, France and Italy, the pensionable age remains at 65. These countries have not taken away the right to celebrate your retirement on your 65th birthday.”

According to De Jong, this is not the only way in which the government selects its comparisons to suit its aims. Christian Democrat Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Labour Finance Minister Wouter Bos, he says, “never refer to the gilt-edged European conditions of employment. For EU officials, 63 is the normal pensionable age. Their maximum pension amounts to 70% of their final basic salary. For the most senior officials, gross salaries run from €4,000 per month to more than €16,000. EU officials can retire early from the age of 55, taking a reduction of 3.5% per year. Working until you're 67 is only permitted in exceptional cases. So if the government wants to take Europe as its template, why don't they take their lead from this?”

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