Working until 67 is a 'theoretical notion', says PM

The legal retirement age in Belgium will rise to 67 in 2030, following a decision by the previous legislature. However, the vast majority of Belgians will not have to work until they are 67, prime minister Alexander De Croo told VTM Nieuws on Sunday.

The head of the federal government was asked to react to a poll showing that two out of three Flemish residents do not want to work until the age of 67. According to the Grand Baromètre survey published by Ipsos, Le Soir, RTL, VTM and Het Laatste Nieuws, the national average is 70 per cent against. People in Brussels are the least opposed to the measure (36 per cent in favour), while the Walloons are the most resistant (27 per cent in favour).

Following a decision taken under the previous legislature, the legal pension age will rise to 67 in 2030, instead of the current 65. In 2025, the legal age will rise to 66.

"[Retirement at] 55 or 58. That doesn't make sense to me"

But according to the prime minister, the vast majority of Belgians will not be affected, as there is a difference between legal and actual pension ages. Currently, most workers take their pension not at 65 but at 62 or 63. "What is important is the career," De Croo said, referring to a period of 42 or 43 years. The age of 67 is therefore “a bit of a theoretical concept” for those who have studied longer and therefore started working later.

As for the existing "sacred cows" - such as the retirement age for military personnel or train drivers - he said this would also have to be discussed as part of the pension reform that the government wants to finalise by the summer. "[Retirement at] 55 or 58. That doesn't make sense to me," he said. "We have to move to a system that is fair."


Belgium's pensions minister Karine Lalieux, prime minister Alexander De Croo and state secretary for budget Alexia Bertrand during a budget press conference on 30 March 2023 in Brussels © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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