Belgians still massively opposed to retirement at 67

Belgians still massively opposed to retirement at 67
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First passed in 2015 by the government of Charles Michel (MR), from 2030, Belgium’s retirement age is set to raise to 67. While the decision did not produce the level of protest currently observed in France, Belgians still remain thoroughly opposed to the decision.

According to a study conducted by pollster Ipsos, alongside Le Soir, RTL, VTM, and Het Laatste Nieuws, following protests in France, a larger share of Belgians are now opposed to the decision to move the pension age up to 67.

While in June 2018, 34% of Belgians said that they were in favour of the proposal, as of March 2023, this has now dropped to just 31%. In Belgium, some parties, such as the far- left PTB, have demanded that the government walk back on its commitment to raise the retirement age in seven years.

Eight years after the decision was made to change the retirement age, and just two years before Belgium transitions from a retirement age of 65 to 66, support for increasing retirement ages does not appear to have increased. In general, Belgians surveyed did not support the proposed increases.

Interestingly, there are disparities between the level of support for retirement at 67 between Belgium’s three main regions. In Wallonia, support for the new retirement age is lowest, with just 27% stating that they are favourable. Despite this, support for the proposal has increased by 3% since the last survey in 2018.

In Flanders, just 32% of people support the new retirement age, up 2% from the last survey. Levels of support are highest in Brussels, where 36% of residents said they were in favour of the new retirement age, also up 2% from 2018.

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Raising the retirement age to 67 will mean that Belgium will have one of the highest retirement ages in Europe, in line with Norway, Italy, Iceland, Greece, and Denmark. Increasing life expectancy and deteriorating public finances mean that many countries across Europe are revising their own retirement ages to adapt to the next generation of retirees.

Despite the current retirement age of 65, only 21% of civil servants in Belgium actually retired at this date, statistics from the National Labour Council (CNT) and Central Council of the Economy (CCE) revealed in March. Three-quarters of civil servants actually took their retirement before 65, and another 7.8% did so before their 60th birthday.

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