Welfare reforms in Denmark that have increased the age of retirement from 65 to 67 have been broadly welcomed by the country, with more than half of respondents to a poll agreeing to the change, according to local press reports.

The new rules mean that those under the age of 48 will have to wait until they are 67 to collect their state pension. The poll, conducted by newspaper Berlingske Tidende, found over half (54%) of the respondents agreed with the change brought in to tackle the problem of Denmark’s aging population after three years of debate. The newspaper also reported that 61% were in favor of the increase on early retirement from 60 to 62.

Politicians were reportedly surprised by the positive reception. Finance minister Thor Pedersen told The Copenhagen Post: I am positively surprised, I have to say. I didn’t believe that the support would be so widespread from Day One, but it’s probably due to a discussion taking place for several years, so people have had the chance to get used to the idea.

The opposition Social Liberals were also taken aback, said The Copenhagen Post. The study shows that reforms are not comprehensive, we could have gone further without creating a wave of protests, said finance spokesman Morten Helveg.

All the major political parties in Denmark’s parliament supported the recent welfare reform bill, which also included provisions to help young people and immigrants into the workforce. Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said of the reforms: This is a deal, which to a large degree puts Danish society on the offensive, when it comes to arming ourselves for the challenges of the future.