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Recent social policy initiatives in Estonia and the Netherlands

04/04/2017

Two new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social policy Network (ESPN) have just become available and provide information on recent policy initiatives in Estonia and the Netherlands.

  • The Estonian government is proposing to link the retirement age to life expectancy by 2027 and have more flexible retirement arrangements to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the old-age pension system. It also intends to tackle inequality and poverty among pensioners by changing the pension calculation, so that it becomes less dependent on individual earnings and more on the number of years worked. The proposed old-age pension reform has been a topic of discussion in the country’s public media, as well as among policymakers, social partners and experts. The draft legislation is expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2018.
  • The Dutch Participation Act grants a minimum income to legal residents with insufficient means to support themselves and is implemented by the municipalities. Together with the aldermen of Utrecht, Groningen, Tilburg and Wageningen, the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment has recently outlined the contours of experiments that will allow these municipalities to implement the Participation Act in an alternative way. Although the initial idea was to test the introduction of a basic income for social assistance recipients, these experiments now focus on cutting down red tape and creating financial incentives to move from benefits to work. On a limited scale and in a specific context, this initiative, which has very little to do with the idea of a basic income, is about finding out what measures are most successful. It makes these experiments very interesting.