Macron postpones French pension overhaul to January

Macron postpones French pension overhaul to January

President Macron says the retirement age needs to be extended to 64 or 65
President Macron says the retirement age needs to be extended to 64 or 65. Photo: GONZALO FUENTES / POOL/AFP
Source: AFP

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French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that he was pushing back his presentation of a major pensions overhaul denounced by labour unions, citing recent leadership changes at two opposition parties.

Both the Greens and the right-wing Republicans have elected new chiefs, and Macron said he would consult with them before unveiling details of the major reform on January 10, instead of Thursday as planned.

"This will give a few more weeks for those... who have taken over to discuss some of the key elements of the reform with the government," Macron said during the latest gathering of his so-called "national refoundation council."

Macron says the retirement age needs to be extended to 64 or 65, from 62 currently -- one of the lowest ages in the EU -- in order to finance the pay-as-you-go system as more people live longer and enter the workforce later.

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The system is likely to have a surplus of 3.2 billion euros this year, according to a September report from the government's pensions advisory board (COR), but is forecast to fall into structural deficits in coming decades unless new financing sources are found.

Macron has also promised to streamline the country's 42 separate pension regimes, which offer early retirement and other benefits mainly to public-sector workers.

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There has been bitter opposition to the planned reform, which has been one of Macron's long-standing targets in power.

Unions staged huge protests and strikes when the reform was first attempted two years ago, before the government abandoned it as the Covid-19 crisis engulfed the world in early 2020.

Macron's overhaul would be the most extensive in a series of pension reforms enacted by successive governments on both the left and right in recent decades aiming to end budget shortfalls.

Source: AFP

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