Economic report: Belgium needs structural action to tackle cost of ageing population

Belgium, more than most other industrialised countries, is vulnerable to the costs associated with an ageing population, according to research by BNP Paribas Fortis. Of the 18 countries assessed in the bank’s report, presented on Wednesday, only Italy is more vulnerable to the cost.

In the bank’s view, Belgium urgently needs to take “structural measures” to temper rising costs. It points out that in a 2003 study, Belgium was among those with average vulnerability. Countries that scored worse then have since all overtaken Belgium, with the exception of Italy. 

The bank’s chief economist, Koen De Leus, notes that Anglo-Saxon countries are among the least vulnerable, “due to their smaller dependence on state pensions and the less negative evolution of the dependency ratio”, which measures the proportion of over-60s and under-20s in relation to the working age population. Scandinavian countries are also doing relatively well. 

To assess vulnerability to ageing, the report took into account indicators including government revenue, the evolution of the dependency ratio, total net public debt and the share of state pensions.



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