Pension reform: a “salami” to facilitate the vote?

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Contours still very blurred. Pension reform is on everyone’s lips, as the government begins its third round of consultations with the social partners this Thursday, December 1. Once this last round is over, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne will present the project to the French during the month of December, just before the end of year celebrations.

Emmanuel Macron and his ministers know that they are expected at the turn by French people worried about what awaits them. One point in particular is tense even before the presentation of the reform: the extension of the legal retirement age. During the campaign for the presidential election, Emmanuel Macron did not hide that he wanted to set this new limit at 65, yet opening the door to a departure at 64 – under conditions – at the end of October. .

According to information from RTL, it is the first option that is now on the table, which government spokesman Olivier Véran wanted to temper. During the report of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday November 29, he explained: “There are no new things in what came out this morning. There is no announcement to be made, there will be announcements soon since by the end of the second week of December there will be a communication that will be made, which will prefigure the future pension reform bill”.

We will therefore have to wait a little longer before knowing what is really preparing for pensions on the government side. What if the executive chose to “sausage” its reform and pass it in two stages? The idea is mentioned, according to information from Challenges. Should we fear a “double” pension reform? Here’s what we know.

As Challenges explains, “the executive power is now considering decoupling its reform into two pieces of legislation”. The first would contain in particular the new starting age, “possibly accompanied by an extension of the contribution period” and would be integrated into “an amending Social Security financing bill (PLFSS)”, presented in January 2023 .

The second would be interested in increasing the minimum pension, but also in “measures in favor of the employment of seniors or the better consideration of arduous jobs”, adds the weekly. This bill, in its classic form, would also be introduced at the very beginning of next year. This “slicing” of the reform would be favored by several members of the government, because it would make it possible to insist on “the positive aspects” of the reform, explains Challenges.

Quoted by the newspaper, someone close to the case adds: “The trade unions will not be able to totally reject this part of the reform, or even support it. And even if they continue to fight at the same time the postponement of the legal age of departure, this will blur his message”. Cutting the reform in two would have another advantage for the government, that of facilitating the vote for the new starting age…

The government knows that Les Républicains support raising the legal retirement age to 65, but it is not assured of the vote of all the deputies of the group, when it needs support. To avoid negotiations, then the executive could “vote them quickly via a corrective PLFSS, if necessary using 49.3”, explains a right-wing elected official to Challenges. Thus, the debates would focus on the second part of the project, which is more positive and has more chances of being adopted in the National Assembly.

Finally, by separating the reform into two separate texts, the government will be able to respect its timetable, which wants the text to be applied from the summer of 2023. “There is a six-month period between the promulgation of such measures and their application”, recalls the weekly, the time in particular for pension funds to get up to speed. Only advantages, few disadvantages, is the “double” pension reform the solution?