Today and tomorrow, the Senate will debate the controversial pension law. Minister Carola Schouten must convince the Senate that the biggest reforms in decades are really necessary. Despite broad support in the House of Representatives, the senate factions are hesitant. Coalition party CDA in particular is dissatisfied.
The debate can be seen as the conclusion of a true ‘marathon topic’, thinks political reporter Leendert Beekman. “The subject has been talked about for 15 years,” he says. ‘Initially, there had to be a pension agreement, which was in place in 2020. And the debates that were held about this in the House of Representatives really took more than a hundred hours.’
A lot of time, but also a lot of matter. After all, it concerns 1,500 billion euros in pension assets that were discussed and about 3.5 pensioners in the Netherlands. ‘In addition, we also have 6 million working people, so it is logical that this is not taken lightly.’
The Senate will vote on the issue next Tuesday, but despite the large majority in the House of Representatives, success in the Senate is anything but guaranteed. All the more so because the scientific bureau of coalition party CDA said this weekend that the Senate party would not agree to the pension law because it would be ‘too big a gamble on the future’.
And so there is suddenly the possibility that the pension issue will turn into a debacle, according to Beekman. ‘Just like the allowances or the loan system’, he explains. ‘And then the question is whether that hard-fought pension bill will be jeopardized.’
Pension reporter Martine Wolzak of the FD confirms that it will be a tough job, but also thinks that there will still be a majority in the Senate. “They are heading for that,” she says. ‘Although Tiny Kox of the SP dropped a small bombshell: he thinks he has found a way to enforce a two-thirds majority. That will lead to diligent searching in the papers to see if that is correct.’
That has everything to do with the Constitution, Wolzak knows. It states that if the remuneration of politicians changes, it must be adopted by a two-thirds majority. ‘And politicians’ pensions will also be affected by this.’