First there was the Balladur-style pension reform. In 1993, the Prime Minister decided to increase the contribution period required to receive a full pension… which then increased to 40 years worked against 37.5 previously. It was also he who reviewed the method of calculating pensions, the amount of which has since been based on the average of the best 25 years. Before, only the ten best were taken into account. Finally, it de-indexed the level of pensions from the evolution of wages to fix it on that of prices.
Twenty years later, here comes François Fillon who provides for the alignment of the contribution period of the public sector with that of the private sector, recalls Retraite.com on its site. It has also created two retirement savings schemes: PERP and PERCO. In 2010, a new reform provided for the end of the legal retirement age at 60, gradually reduced to 62. The age of the automatic full rate has also been pushed back from 65 to 67 years. The latest change dates back to 2014: it was decided during the five-year term of François Hollande and provides for the extension of the minimum insurance period required to obtain the full rate. The generations born between 1958 and 1972 no longer have to justify 166 quarters of contributions, like their elders, but 172.
This long string of reforms could still be shelled. Indeed, Emmanuel Macron’s desire to modify, once again, the system of inter-generational solidarity in force on French soil bears witness to this. On June 3, 2022, he also detailed the timetable for the implementation of such a reform, which he wishes to be rapid: it must be applied from the summer of 2023 and will allow him to gradually push back the legal age of retirement from age 62 to 64 or 65.
Before getting there, the Head of State explained that he wanted to organize a National Council for Refoundation, after the legislative elections of June 12 and 18, 2022, explains Previssima. This new body, which must be constituted “with the political, economic, social, associative forces, elected representatives of the territories and citizens drawn by lot” will allow the executive to “bring [its] reforms to life”. Among which the imminent pension reform. To what extent is it able to shake up the rights acquired by French women and men? How could these new rights be obtained?
The idea of a rapid reform makes sense, underlines the economist Philippe Crevel, who recalls how much the postponement of the legal retirement age is essential for the proper application of Emmanuel Macron’s program. “A good part of his program, particularly in terms of public spending, depends on pension reform”, he underlines, first. A first reason for the President of the Republic to act quickly. “In any case, these are reforms that we are trying to do quickly. The longer we wait, the more difficult they are to get accepted and the economic constraints could begin to be felt quickly, if the war persists in Ukraine”, further believes the director of Cercle de l’Epargne, also known for having founded the Lorello company. Ecodata. “In addition, the President of the Republic has made it a real political marker. He is ready to split on this question”, he still judges, referring to the recent interview granted by the Head of State to the regional daily press.
In reality, however, it could be complex to give a precise timetable for the moment. In any case, this is the opinion of associate professor Alexandre Delaigue, who today teaches economics at Lille-1 University. “It will mechanically depend on the next legislative elections. The results that the presidential party will obtain will necessarily influence the room for maneuver that Emmanuel Macron will be able to benefit from to implement his action”, he recalls in fact, believing that the political plan will necessarily prove to be decisive. “He has, in fact, every reason to want to do it early. Because it is now that he has good political capital, because a pension reform will never be truly popular”, nuances the economist… But are such demonstrations of will not of an incantatory nature? ? “We will have to wait to know the composition of the National Assembly and pay attention to possible negotiations with the social partners to answer this question correctly”, slices Philippe Crevel, not without reminding that to wait too long… is to take the risk of seeing support turn into opposition. “Initially, a majority of French men and women supported the president’s first reform project, during his previous mandate”, he informs.
Admitting the idea that the pension reform is carried out as desired by the President of the Republic… what transformations should we logically expect?
“The pension reform has several objectives. First of all, and this is its central point, it aims to stabilize the weight of pensions in GDP, in accordance with the recommendations of certain economists such as Jean Tirole. The idea is that the load does not exceed 14%”, explains Alexandre Delaigue from the outset. Consequently, such a reform would mechanically have an impact on the method of converting pension rights, which could turn out to be lower in the future. “Either we are counting on an increase in growth, or we are counting on a blow in the level of pensions of tomorrow”, he continues. Retirees already in place should be preserved. “It’s quite logical: they have considerably fewer means to adapt”, recalls the teacher-researcher.
“The President of the Republic said that he intended to finance the improvement of small pensions with such a measure”, nevertheless tempers Philippe Crevel. “Generally, making savings could allow better indexation of pensions, at least in theory,” he continues. This is not the only impact that could – on paper, at least – turn out to be positive. “By pushing back the legal retirement age, we improve the employment rate of seniors, which is currently quite low. It remains to be seen how the Head of State intends to play on these parameters: he can modify the contribution period necessary to reach the full rate, establish a bonus-malus system…”, lists the founder of Lorello-Ecodata.