Since the presentation of the text of the pension reform on January 10, the French are angry against a government which wishes to impose on them a late retirement and an increase in the duration of contributions. After two days of successful mobilization, the fight continues between the executive and the French. What are the prospects today for a government close to impasse? How could he emerge a winner from this crisis?
On January 31, the second day of mobilization against the pension reform was a great success with, according to the authorities, 1.3 million people in the streets, and 2.8 million according to the CGT. This is therefore a record for social reform since 1995 and a long battle that is taking place for the executive. If the French seem more than ever determined to assert their rights, the government must face a particularly tense climate and put in place the necessary arbitration.
As Le Parisien reports, it is becoming difficult for the executive to know where to position itself and how to organize its communication around this unpopular pension reform. The Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, said it herself this Monday evening “it is not easy to defend this reform”. The government’s communication strategy therefore seems to be geared towards frank and massive support for this reform, which must be voted on against all odds. With this in mind, the executive could close itself to all negotiations to pass the bill into force thanks to the support of article 47.1 of the Constitution.
In her own words, spoken on Franceinfo, Elisabeth Borne closed the door to a possible change concerning the legal retirement age by specifying that the threshold of 64 years “was no longer negotiable”. Questioned in The Hague at a press conference, Emmanuel Macron confirmed this speech by affirming that “when [Elisabeth Borne] says something, she says it with good reasons and I support her”. He added that pension reform was “indispensable when you compare yourself in Europe” and necessary to “save our system”.
This determination on the part of the government portends heated discussions during the study of the text of the pension reform. It also implies serious difficulties in obtaining an agreement with the unions and in creating a calm climate for debate. As the opposition prepares to table thousands of amendments, the prospects seem dim to make the government bend or, at the very least, to extract modifications at the heart of the project.
Currently debated since Monday in committee of the National Assembly, the text of the pension reform must be studied from February 6 in the Hemicycle. However, the government said it was ready to “enrich the text” in Parliament, despite a communication determined to get this disputed bill passed. Negotiating points can thus emerge, in particular on women’s retirement and maternity-related terms. As 20 Minutes points out, Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, Renaissance MP and chairman of the European Affairs Committee, therefore spoke out in this direction.
In the list of possible re-readings, the government could also review its copy on long careers, in particular for a full-rate departure after 43 years of contribution. However, as confirmed by Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, “this measure is quite expensive, and the Prime Minister recalled that the balance of the system is the basis of the reform”. We will therefore have to wait to find out how the government will be able to emerge a winner from this subject as thorny as it is disputed.