Here we are. The pension reform is underway. Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne presents the main lines on Tuesday, before the debates in Parliament in February. The government wants to move quickly and outpace the mobilization of opponents. The debate is indeed presented in bad conditions, with the confrontation of two camps which seem to have no other option than to make the other bend. A distressing situation, which reflects the belligerent way of doing politics in France and the poor quality of social dialogue.
The issues are certainly complex, ranging from the individual to the national community. For working people, retirement is a horizon that mobilizes high expectations, but its concrete reality depends on professional careers. The distribution system guarantees solidarity, but its budget is growing. The pension system weighs on the mass of public expenditure while the State must reduce its indebtedness. The objective of equity must therefore be combined with that of sustainability.
Carefully weighed, the trade-offs retained in the reform project reflect the doctrinal choices of the Head of State. Emmanuel Macron has certainly given up on the systemic change he advocated during his first term, but his determination to raise the legal retirement age is a marker of his liberal approach. He defends the value of work, reduces the tax burden on companies and aims to restore the country’s competitiveness by affirming that this will benefit everyone. This reform is also that of a strongly contested political philosophy. Its success or failure could have lasting electoral consequences.
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