President Macron delays French pension reforms until after election

French President, Emmanuel Macron, has revealed that he is not planning to reform the country’s pension system before the next presidential election.

Prior to the pandemic, the government was locked in a battle with unions and workers over plans to significantly change the way the pension system works. Negotiations for the plans were put on hold in March 2020 when the outbreak of the coronavirus began.

In July 2020, the country had intended to reinstate negotiations with Macron stating that the plans should not be “consigned to the dustbin”. The reform would have seen the country’s 42 current regimes merge into one single pension system. The government also wanted to raise the age at which citizens are eligible for a full pension but it was forced to back down on this due to pressure from unions.

However, in a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, 9 November, Macron said the conditions are not right to launch such a reform due to the pandemic. This follows on from comments he made in June, in which he said: “I do not think the reform as it was originally envisaged can go ahead as such” due to the current Covid-19 pandemic.

“It was very ambitious and extremely complex and that is why it generated anxiety, we must admit that. Doing it right now would mean ignoring the fact that there are already a lot of worries.”

During the televised address, however, Macron hinted that from 2022, the debate on pensions needs to be reopened. He said that it is “necessary to preserve the pensions of retirees and the solidarity between generations”.

He also said that people will need to “work longer by pushing back the legal age [for retirement], to move towards a fairer system by abolishing special regimes, by harmonising the rules between the public and private sector and by ensuring that at the end of a full career, no pension may be less than €1,000".

He also mentioned the possibility of “retiring gradually, accumulating rights more quickly for those who wish" and "to encourage work beyond the legal age for those who want it ".

The country is now less than six months away from a presidential election, which will take place in April 2022; Macron is expected to run for a second term.

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