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Pension reform in France – population dissatisfied with increase in retirement age – News


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Emmanuel Macron has made it his major goal to reform the pension system. At the beginning of his first term in office, he wanted to completely overhaul the system and at the time he considered an increase in the retirement age to be unfair.

Macron soon changed his mind and began reforming the current system. His first attempt at reform was met with general strikes in 2019, and the reform was later suspended due to Covid-19.

So now the second attempt. At a time when inflation and the energy crisis have already hit the population hard, the idea of ​​raising the retirement age to 64 does not go down well: 68 percent of French people reject the pension reform.

Unions call for demonstrations and strikes

All eight major trade unions are also strictly against the reform – retirement age 64 is a red rag for them. It is a rarity that even the state-affiliated trade union CFDT goes on a blockade and calls for strikes and demonstrations. It’s supposed to start on January 19th.

The French pension system is currently still profitable, but is expected to run into a deficit in the next few years. The French government has failed to demonstrate that raising the retirement age is urgently needed at this point.

Economists are divided, and not even the government’s advisory board has made a clear statement in favor of the reform. It describes raising the retirement age as a political decision.

Surpluses thanks to the increase in the retirement age

Also unfortunate was Emmanuel Macron’s statement a few months ago that the profits that would be made from the reform could be invested in schools or health care.

So why set the pension reform in stone now of all times and increase the retirement age? Emmanuel Macron seems determined to go down in history as the reformer of the French pension system.

The fact that he has given this unpopular task to Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne gives him room for manoeuvre. If the strikes continue and the government has to backtrack, Borne will be responsible.

Only strikes could make reform fail

The Prime Minister has tried to make the pension reform more tasteful with sweets: the plan is to increase the minimum pension by EUR 100 to EUR 1,200 for all pensioners, and there are also plans to make improvements for women.

Borne emphasized on Tuesday afternoon that the money from the pension reform would only be used for pensions. The original proposal to raise the retirement age to 65 was also rejected. Forgoing a general increase entirely was not an issue for the government.

Parliament will discuss the reform in February – it is currently unclear whether the government reform will find a majority. But that doesn’t really matter, because Elisabeth Borne can again convene paragraph 49.3 and wave the pension reform through parliament without a vote.

Whether the reform will ultimately be implemented as planned depends only on how strong the resistance of the population is.

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