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OECD calls for Belgian pensions reform

Expatica News, 28 April 2003

BRUSSELS – A new OECD report has suggested Belgium contemplate a major reform of its pension system.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's 141-page report noted that Belgium’s three statutory pension schemes (public sector, private sector, self-employed), calculate retirement pensions differently.

"Retirement decisions should be actuarially neutral, and retirement arrangements should be brought into line with longer life expectancy, thus retiring early should mean a smaller pension, and retiring later a larger one," said the study.

"Belgium is a crossroads," it continued, "either it looks to the future and acknowledges that its best interest lies in stopping the premature withdrawal from the labour market of older workers… or it decides to carry on promoting early retirement."

Efforts by the Belgian government to increase the employment rate of older workers may not be sufficient to reverse the trend and alleviate pressure created by an ageing workforce.

By 2050, the number of people aged 65 and over is likely to be half the number of people aged 20-64, compared with just over a quarter in 2000.

The OECD's Belgian report is one of the first of 20 such reports due to be published over the next two years.

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