Politicians, the pension sector and social partners cannot let the pension agreement fail.
Gerard van Olphen already gave that message in his New Year's speech at APG , and today he makes the appeal again in the Financieele Dagblad.
Minister Wouter Koolmees (Social Affairs) wants to finalize the development of the pension agreement on April 1st of this year, which is seen as quite challenging. The words of Gerard van Olphen during the interview leave no room for doubt in that respect: "We have a hundred days left for a debate that has been going on for eleven years." In the FD he states that a pension agreement after the summer or after the elections amounts to "playing for time, which does not do justice to how important it is for the Netherlands to regain confidence in the pension system." Van Olphen points out that the parties at the negotiating table "are cherishing their contradictions" and have dug themselves firmly in their foxholes - while those contradictions are smaller than the first eye suggests. He warns against a "horror scenario" (premium increases, future accrual decreases and cuts in pension benefits) that may arise for funds if the deadline of April 1 is not met, and Koolmees does not subsequently grant approval for postponement of pension cuts. Not that a finalized agreement solves all pension problems (such as longevity risk and low interest rates), but "at least a new perspective emerges and people can regain confidence in the system," said Van Olphen in the FD. You can find the full story here (in Dutch, and only accessible for subscribers to FD).