Pension reform: soon a 49.3?

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Article 49.3 of the Constitution is definitely on the rise. Monday, November 21, 2022, after three hours of debate on the 2023 Social Security draft budget, examined at first reading in the National Assembly, Elisabeth Borne entered the Chamber.

“Ladies and gentlemen deputies, on the basis of article 49 paragraph 3 of the Constitution, I engage the responsibility of my government on the third part of the social security financing bill for 2023.” With these words, the Prime Minister thus triggered, for the fifth time in just over a month, Article 49.3 of the Constitution. “We cannot perpetually replay debates that have been decided”, she declared in particular before the Hemicycle.

A fifth time, but maybe not the last, and the next could be over the highly controversial pension reform. In any case, this is what Sacha Houlié, Renaissance deputy (ex-LREM) from Vienne and chairman of the law commission at the National Assembly, believes.

“I am anything but naive. I think that given the difficulty of passing a text on pensions, I do not see how the government will do otherwise than an amending Social Security financing bill”, confided the elected official on the set of Public Sénat on Monday, November 21, 2022.

By using this type of bill, the government could save a 49.3. Indeed, this article of the Constitution can only be used once per parliamentary session, except with regard to budgetary texts where there is no limit.

Thus, this choice would make sense for the deputy because it could put pressure on the opposition.

“With a possibility of 49.3, everyone will be held accountable,” said Sacha Houlié. For this walker of the first hour, this hypothesis thus seems to be the best option to have the highly contested pension reform adopted, given the face of the National Assembly today.

Regarding the 49.3 triggered on Monday, November 22, he was not surprised but believes that these decisions are not inevitable. “For things to change, the opposition would have to change too, also change its method, and present amendments that could be adopted.”

Despite everything, the deputy still confides that he has some reservations about the pension reform as planned.

Still on the set of Public Senate, the deputy confided in his “serious reservations” about the postponement of the legal retirement age which is provided for by the reform. He is particularly worried “about the inequalities” that this measure could create, mainly among workers who started their career very early.

He said that “the least unfair measure is that of extending the contribution period”, before adding “if they decide on an age measure, it must present all the necessary measures so that the inequalities generated by this measure are erased.