The Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) has launched a campaign for a law that stipulates a national minimum pension of EUR 1500. The law may be the first to be brought about through a citizens’ initiative.
Belgians can introduce such a bill by forming a citizens’ committee, registering the initiative and collecting signatures in support of the legal change sought. The provision is being used for the first time by the PTB, which is on a mission to collect 100,000 signatures from across the country, including the regions of Flanders and Wallonia, besides the capital, Brussels.
In order to present a political demand or add a proposal for legislative amendments, the petitions must be signed by at least 14,500 Flemish people and 8,000 Walloons, in addition to 2,500 people from Brussels.
Currently, the retirement age in Belgium is 65. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), approximately 30% of Belgians are over 65 years old, a figure that is higher than the average of 28% in the rest of Europe. The average state pension stands at EUR 1,100 for employees, EUR 2,600 for civil servants and EUR 900 for self-employed workers.
In the PTB’s online petition for a minimum pension law (https://www.1500net.be), a campaign note has been added in which Raoul Hedebouw, the party’s spokesperson, has stated that a minimum pension of 1,500 euros for those who have worked all their lives is not a luxury, but a necessity to live a dignified life. “Our pensions are the lowest in Europe, while ministers will receive more than 4,000 euros as pension. It can not continue like that.” the note added.
As of now, around 36,011 people have endorsed the online signature campaign by the PTB to push for a law mandating a minimum pension.