Senate support for state pension measure coalition agreement uncertain

PvdA and JA21 are against the decoupling of the state pension, say party leaders Lilianne Ploumen and Joost Eerdmans against Nieuwsuur. That measure from the coalition agreement is in question.

PvdA and JA21 play an important role in the opposition, because they can help the coalition parties to a majority in the Senate. The coalition parties have 32 seats there, six too few to reach a majority. Without support from JA21 (seven seats), PvdA (six seats), or of GroenLinks, with which the latter party is taking up, the chance that the measure will pass through the Senate is small.

Three billion a year

The decoupling of the state pension has to do with the planned incremental increase in the minimum wage by 7.5 percent. This also increases the amount of benefits, because it is linked to the level of the minimum wage. By law, it is still regulated that in addition to the benefit, the AOW pension must increase equally with the minimum wage. But the cabinet wants to get rid of that.

By decoupling the most expensive benefit, the state pension, the cabinet hopes to limit the costs. โ€œThat saves the state treasury over three billion euros a year,โ€ says economist Mathijs Bouman. โ€œThat is about as much as the entire amount that the cabinet will spend extra on Defence.โ€

No crumbs

Nevertheless, the PvdA and JA21 are not going to support the measure. โ€œPeople who have worked hard for our certainties, work that we now find indispensable, do not advance in this plan if the minimum wage rises,โ€ says Ploumen. โ€œI find that the axe at the root of solidarity. I find it unfair to throw billions and at the same time leave state pension ers with an increasingly army wallet.โ€

For JA21 party leader Eerdmans, agreeing to the measure is also in principle unnegotiable. โ€œPeople who have worked hard all their lives, are married and have a small pension go backwards a year of a thousand euros. These are people who cant do anything about their own position themselves, because they have already stopped working and are dependent on their pension.โ€

Only with very big commitments, the door for JA21 is ajar, says Eerdmans. โ€œWhen imports of the strict Danish migration model come to the table, there is to talk. But for a few crumbs, were not going to do it. And I dont expect anything like that to come to us.โ€

Move forward to the future

The chances that lack of support from the opposition on more topics from the coalition agreement will become a problem is high, says political reporter Arjan Noorlander. โ€œIn order not to have a fight among themselves, the cabinet has put many plans that cost a lot of money on the table, but they were not allowed to lead to all kinds of annoying tax increases. That is why the bill is largely pushed to the future.โ€

โ€œBut that also means that if opposition parties have wishes, that will immediately cost money that cannot be pushed forward to the future. This applies to the decoupling of the state pension, but also for, for example, the purchase of the gas contract with Germany, which is already debated.โ€

Unrest has also arisen about the plan in the backbings of the coalition parties. On Monday, the elderly networks of VVD, CDA and D66 sent an angry fire letter to their own parliamentary groups requesting that the measure be reversed.