Norwegian companies will from next year be obliged to contribute to the pensions of all employees after the country's parliament on Tuesday passed a bill on mandatory payments to the king for signing.Ooops; no matter how big government gets, it cannot carry the water it promised to. Meanwhile, across the Gulf of Bothnia:
Norway is one of Europe's wealthiest countries, but the ageing of its population will put pressure on its relatively generous state pension system in the future, a prospect the centre-left government is trying to pre-empt.
Public sector workers and about half the employees of private businesses are already covered by voluntary schemes provided by their employers. But 500,000-600,000 employees, or about 25 per cent of the Norwegian workforce, have until now relied on the state pension.
Finland's parliament yesterday approved the abolition of the country's levy on wealth. One hundred and thirty four lawmakers voted for the reform and 45 opposed it. The wealth tax will be abandoned in 2006. Currently, assets such as properties and securities worth over €185,000 ($220,500) are taxes at 0.9 per cent a year. Cash in bank accounts is exempt.