After two days of strike in France, the first on Thursday the 19th when the unions paralyzed part of the country with large protests and the one on Saturday the 21st when young progressives took to the streets of Paris, the French Council of Ministers prepares to adopt this Monday the reform project of the pension system, which provides for the extension of two years, up to 64, the minimum age for retirement, and which is clearly rejected by most of the French in numerous surveys.
This adoption will be one of the previous steps for its final approval, since, then, the proposal will have to be debated and voted on by the French Assembly, where Emmanuel Macron’s presidential party, in the absence of an absolute majority, counts, a priori, with the votes of the conservatives The Republicans to carry it out.
“France is below the EU average (in the minimum retirement age). The current system is insufficient to stop demographic degradation (increasingly more pensioners and less active)”, canceled the Executive, in one of the extracts of the project leaked by the press.
Likewise, the Executive of the liberal Macron argues that the current retirement regime is “deficit and has no prospect of improvement in the medium term”, an argument refuted by the unions, the left-wing parties and the extreme right, who have promised a firm opposition in the streets and in Parliament.
However, Macron has insisted this week on maintaining the reform, which had choked him in the previous legislature due to the Covid pandemic. This Sunday, two ministers involved in this thorny project expressed themselves in the press, Labor Olivier Dussopt and Finance Minister Gabriel Attal.
“This is a redistributive reform,” defended the former socialist Dussopt in the Jornal du Dimanche (JDD), alluding to the revaluation planned for pensions with full contributions, which may not be less than 1,200 gross euros per month (85 % of the real minimum wage).
Meanwhile, Attal showed the government’s openness to “enriching” the text with contributions from the opposition during the parliamentary process and criticized the position of the leader of the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who advocates a retirement at 60 years. “With his project, the younger generations will be condemned to pay more taxes for an unfair system,” he estimated in Le Parisien Attal.
Apart from the increase from 62 to 64 years by 2030 in the minimum retirement age, the Executive’s proposal contemplates bringing forward to 2027 the increase from 42 to 43 years of contribution in order to enjoy full retirement (until now planned for 2035).
Recent polls show that the majority of the French (around two-thirds) oppose these two measures, although the good part recognizes the need to change the system.
The pension reform also seeks to put an end to special retirement regimes, more advantageous than the general system and used on many occasions by public sector companies, such as the state electricity company EDF. In addition, it will take into account certain professions considered especially painful due to their physical and mental exhaustion.
Thus, those who have started working before the age of 20 will be able to retire with the integral pension at 62 and those who do so before the age of 18 (normally as apprentices) will be able to do so between the ages of 60 and 58.
The bill includes measures to promote so-called “senior” employment, which in practice requires companies with more than 1,000 employees to a certain percentage of people at the end of their career (55 years and older).