The seven Belgian parliaments have not succeeded in increasing the pension age of parliamentary deputies to 67. This issue is discussed in several newspapers today (Friday).
The President of the Chamber of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke (of the New Flemish Alliance) had already drawn up a proposal on the federal parliament’s behalf. However, despite this, a meeting with the seven presidents of the parliament on Thursday was insufficient to firm up an agreement.
All stakeholders appear to agree to the principle of increasing the pension age to 67 – as compared to the present 62. However, the President of the Walloon parliament, André Antoine, (of the Humanist Democratic Centre) also wishes to harmonize other aspects.
Currently, the Walloon parliament is the only one which allows a rule prohibiting the majority of deputies from holding a local mandate concurrently with their parliamentary seat. They thus receive a lower pension than their colleagues in other Belgian parliaments.
The New Flemish Alliance considers that French-speaking deputies are thus putting on ice the chance for swift agreement. “The Francophones are trying deviously to delay matters by overburdening the agenda,” the leader of the New Flemish Alliance, Peter De Roover, levels at them.
La Libre emphasises that the entire parliamentary status of deputies may have to be re-examined, so as to ensure that deputies are able to draw their pension at 67. Unlike other workers with “conventional” employment status, a deputy, aged 60, who is not re-elected, has no automatic right to receive statutory employment benefit (but simply a form of severance pay with a 24-month ceiling).
A further meeting on the subject is planned for September 24th.