Parliamentary pension bonuses are 'illegal', rule federal MPs

Parliamentary pension bonuses are 'illegal', rule federal MPs
Credit: Belga / Eric Lalmand

The Parliamentary Bureau of the Chamber of Representatives ruled on Wednesday that the bonuses received by retired Belgian politicians on top of their pensions are illegal.

The ruling comes after increased scrutiny and debate over parliamentary pensions in Belgium. Former presidents of the Chamber of Representatives were found to be receiving bonuses on top of their pensions after they reach the age of 60.

Former parliamentary officials, including the Prime Minister's own father Herman De Croo, had thus received up to €6,000 per month on top of their pensions.

As the so-called Wijninckx law places a ceiling of €7,813 per month on public servants' pensions, the parliamentary bureau requested that two separate law firms assess the legality of these bonuses. They both deemed that these "extra incomes" did not comply with Belgian law.

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The Bureau will now decide on how to recover the money lost through illegal bonuses, with discussions set to continue int the afternoon on how to move forward.

Moreover, the Wijninckx law may also be discussed, with a recent report by Le Soir revealing that only the parliament is responsible for ensuring that these pensions comply with Belgian law. This means that parliamentary pensions have not been subjected to third-party oversight since 1982 when the law was approved.

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