France's administration drafts a plan to increase the retirement age despite years of pushback
January 12, 2023: -French President Emmanuel Macron is going at it again.
On Tuesday, a new pension reform proposal was presented that included plans to raise France’s retirement age which is expected to face significant backlash in the country.
Macron is serving his second period as France’s president but repairing the pension system is a long-standing promise that dates back to when he was first elected in 2017.
France’s legal retirement age is currently 62 lower than many developed markets, which include much of Europe and the U.S. The public sector has “special regimes,” or sector-specific deals, that allow workers to retire before age 62.
In late 2019, Macron’s administration proposed a single, points-based system, which allows a person to retire once they have gained a certain amount of points. The plan was a harmonization of the rules across sectors.
But the plan was met with uproar. Public sector workers, arguably the ones with the most to lose from potential reforms, protested for several days in some of the country’s most significant strikes in decades. Amid such strong opposition and the coronavirus disease, Macron stated in early 2020 to put the plans on hold.
There was little talk of revisiting the plans at the beginning of 2022, but it was judged too close to the presidential election, which took place in April of the previous year.
“This year will be the pension reform, which aims to balance our system in the years and decades to come,” Macron stated during his New Year’s address.
“As I promised you, this year will be that of a pension reform, aiming to ensure the balance of our laws for the years and decades to come.”
He said he wants to conclude negotiations in time for recent rules to be applicable from the 2023 end.
“There is disruption, there will be strikes, and it has decided to go quick: the present procedure is supposed to last not over 90 days,” Renaud Foucart, senior lecturer in financial at Lancaster University, told on Tuesday morning.
“Quick and dirty maybe, but likely to pass than five years ago,” he added.
Étienne Million, a sociology professor at Ecole Polytechnique, said on Tuesday that Macron “is keen on keeping the image of a reformist president.”
His first term was dominated by critical reforms, touching on labour laws and taxation.
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