Pension reform: Emmanuel Macron’s plan B

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The pension reform is arousing many criticisms, both on the substance and on the form in which the reform will be carried out. If the presentation has been postponed to January 10, 2023, the government suggests that it could go through a bill, allowing it to use 49.3 if a majority does not emerge.

The Minister of Labor, Olivier Dussopt, acknowledged that the use of a bill was “a track [that they] are looking at”, while indicating, in essence, that the “quality” of the “legislative vector” was not yet officially defined. The idea of ​​using the social security project budget is not new. It had sprung up at the end of the summer when Emmanuel Macron had put the pension reform project back in the foreground. But he had backed down, many observers deeming this method “undemocratic”.

But today, the government will go through a law on Social Security because it limits the duration of legislative debate, within a period of fifty days between its deposit on the desk of the National Assembly and the final adoption by the parliament.

The second advantage is that like any financial text, a financing law can pass through Parliament with the help of article 49.3 of the Constitution, which allows adoption without a vote. Let us not forget that the government only has a relative majority in the National Assembly.

To pass its reform, the government will have to find support at the Palais Bourbon, or at least elected officials who do not vote against it. In this context, the LR deputies constitute a significant number of votes to seduce, as the government had to do several times during its mandate.

This explains why the power has been seeking for several weeks to find convergence with them. The law could even require a second reading text, in particular for the part on the employment of seniors.

The use of the Social Security financing bill seems much more authoritarian and would be much less perceived than an ad hoc text. Firstly because the time for debate will be very limited, fifty days, leaving little time for the opposition to block and take into account the reservations of a majority of the population.

On the left, this method is criticized: “This choice will allow him to use 49.3 on a major reform – when it should be the subject of a broad agreement – and will thus reflect his weakness”, declared the PS deputy from Calvados, Arthur Delaporte in Le Monde. Even the deputy LR Thibault Bazin goes there from his dissonance and invites to “not to misuse 49.3”.