Belgium Contemplates Lowering Retirement Age: Working Until 67 – Impossible
Belgium is again advocating for a reduction in the retirement age. According to Raoul Hedebouw, President of the Labour Party (PTB), it's 'impossible' for many workers to keep working until they're 67, as reported by 7sur7.
"Working until 67 is impossible for the vast majority of workers," Hedebouw clarified in an interview with RTL.info this Sunday. "Given that the gap in healthy life expectancy between the elite and the working class is 17 years... it equates to 17 years less in lifetime."
Can Belgium afford to implement such a reform? "France spends between 14 to 15% of its GDP on pensions; we spend 10%. We have the lowest pensions in Western Europe. If France can afford to pay 15% today, why can't we do it in a few years?" argues the PTB President.
The funds should come from the "elite", the "super-rich", believes Hedebouw. "1% of the population currently owns assets worth more than 600 billion euros," he reminds us. "It is from them that we should be seeking money, not from the pensioners," he concludes.
Recall that, from September 1, 2023 to 2030, the retirement age in Belgium will gradually increase from 62 to 64 years by three months per year. However, disabled workers will be able to retire from 55 years, and those with disabilities from 60 years.
Accordingly, under a decision approved by the previous Parliament, the statutory retirement age in Belgium will increase to 67 years by 2030 instead of the current 65 years. In 2025, the statutory age will already increase to 66 years. But according to the Prime Minister, the majority of Belgians are not worried about this because there is a difference between the statutory and actual retirement age.
Pensions of future retirees with a "full career" (43 years of contributions in the long-term perspective) cannot be less than 85% of the Smic, or about 1,200 euros gross per month at the time of the reform's entry into force.
"An important career," said the Prime Minister, referring to a duration of 42 or 43 years. According to Alexander De Croo, the age of 67 is a "somewhat theoretical concept" for those who studied longer and therefore started working later.
Regarding existing "sacred cows" – such as the retirement age of soldiers or SNCB drivers – the Prime Minister stated that, in his opinion, this should also be discussed as part of the reform thought, which the government aims to finalize before the summer holidays. "55 or 58. That doesn't seem logical to me," said the Prime Minister. "We should move to a fair system."
Currently, most working people in Belgium retire not at 65, but at 62-63 years.