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Protest torpedoes forced freelancer pensions

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Protest torpedoes forced freelancer pensions
Photo: DPA
13:32 CEST+02:00
A plan to force all Germany's self-employed people to set up a pension has been torpedoed by a parliamentary committee, after a protest petition attracted 80,000 signatures.

Thursday's Handelsblatt newspaper said the committee was "surprisingly clear" in its rejection of the plan, drawn up by Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen, which would have required self-employed to pay a minimum of €350 to €400 a month into pensions.

"The introduction of obligatory insurance must not end up preventing people setting up for themselves," the committee statement said.

Tim Wessels, initiator of the online petition against the measure, expressed satisfaction with the committee's decision.

"I hope that Mrs von der Leyen learns not to overburden people financially. A government should reduce bureaucracy and not create more, and avoid such unnecessary plans in the future," he told the paper. "If Mrs von der Leyen would keep her hands off these things, business freedom in Germany would be better off."

Von der Leyen's measure was meant to counter Germany's ever-increasing problem of poverty among old people.

Her coalition partners in the Free Democratic Party (FDP) spoke out against the obligation. The parliamentary committee, on the other hand, said it was not against an obligatory pension in principle - just against a standard sum.

Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn of the Green party described the committee's statement as a "serious slap in the face" for the minister.

The Local/bk

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