A high-risk start to pension reform, a social experiment for Macron

By Caroline Pailliez

PARIS, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne unveiled a new pension reform on Tuesday, a highly sensitive project that would change the legal retirement age to restore the plan’s finances in the long term, despite the inconvenience. opinion polls and a united trade union front.

Elisabeth Borne is set to announce the postponement of the legal age from 62 to 64, at the rate of three extra months a year, according to several media sources.

President Emmanuel Macron, according to these sources, would decide to cancel the trail of changing the legal age to 65, as promised during the presidential campaign.

Added to this age delay will be the acceleration of the implementation of the 2014 law, which extends the contribution period from 42 years to 43 years to receive a full pension.

For the executive, this reform regime should be sustainable in the long term, and the budget deficit could reach 13.5 billion euros in 2030 under the most favorable growth assumptions, and then 43.9 billion in 2050.

Delaying the legal age by two years and extending the payment period would generate €17.7 billion in additional revenue, which would bring the scheme’s balance sheet into the green, reaching around €5 billion in 2030. Labor.

This would allow the government to free up room for maneuver to fund measures related to obsolescence and obsolescence and employment of the elderly.

The reform will be presented to the Council of Ministers on January 23 before being considered by the Assembly in early February.


Lacking an absolute majority in the Palais-Bourbon, the presidential camp tried to convince the conservatives, especially the Les Republicains (LR) party, of the merits of its project. The latter is due to meet in a workshop on Tuesday to decide what action to take on the vote on the draft.

Eric Ciotti, the president of the party, who met with Elisabeth Borne last Thursday, has already announced his conditions.

In Le Journal du Dimanche, he said he wanted the reform to be spread over two five-year periods, raising the legal age to 64 in 2032, an intermediate step to 63 in 2027 and a review clause at that deadline.

He also wants a significant increase in pensions for all retirees, which could prove costly. The executive has so far promised to provide a pension guarantee of at least €1,200, or 85% of the minimum wage, to future pensioners claiming a full career.

Aurore Berge, president of the Renaissance group in the National Assembly, told France Inter on Monday that the presidential majority is in favor of extending the measure, which would bring its total cost to 2.7 billion euros.

The support of the Conservatives, who control the Senate and have about sixty MPs in the lower house, is essential to the passage of this text, while the left and far right opposed the project.

The prime minister also met on Monday with the leaders of the centrist group Libertés, Independants, Outre-mer et Territoires (LIOT), which has twenty deputies.

The degree of mobilization against this reform, which has been rejected based on employee reaction and opinion polls, remains a big unknown for the coming weeks.

Trade unions are now united against this project, which is considered too cruel. They believe that the finances of the regime under their control do not justify such major reforms. They agreed to meet Tuesday evening to announce possible division moves.


The last pension reform (2010), which lowered the legal retirement age from 60 to 62 under the leadership of Nicolas Sarkozy, led to mass mobilization in the streets. Nevertheless, the reform was accepted as it was.

According to Raymond Subi, former social adviser to Nicolas Sarkozy and president of Alixio, this tour may be difficult to repeat today.

“There are a number of irritants that didn’t exist in 2010: rising prices, Christmas holidays. For small bosses, it’s energy prices,” he told Reuters.

“We are still on changing, sensitive and potentially explosive ground. Rather than an attackable pension reform, it could be a detonator for the rest. That is why the government is being cautious,” he added.

“Not the holidays of 2019, but the holidays of 1995 are being prepared,” says the architect of reforms in the universal point system, the first project implemented by Emmanuel Macron, but put aside in 2020. the face of social protest and health crisis.

In 1995, mass strikes against a plan to reform the special regimes paralyzed the country for three weeks and forced the government of Alain Juppe to retreat.

This former member of the government is still betting the bill will pass, especially if the executive branch resorts to a flexible legislative tool like the government-favored Social Security funding reform bill.

This type of text makes it possible to limit the debate in time, as the Parliament has to decide within 50 days. If negotiations with the Republicans failed, the government could invoke Article 49.3 of the Constitution to cancel as many votes as it wanted. (Caroline Pailliez)

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