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the pension reform presented to the Council of Ministers

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The pension reform wanted by President Emmanuel Macron is presented to the Council of Ministers on Monday. “The needs” are “known”, and “I believe that there, now, we must be able to move forward”, assured the head of state.

Determined to follow its timetable, the government presents, Monday, January 23, its pension reform in the Council of Ministers. He does not give up on the main demands of the unions, who for their part intend to further amplify the mobilization.

After a first day of massive action, which brought together between one and two million people on the streets on Thursday, followed by a “youth demonstration” on Saturday, and before the next day of strikes and demonstrations scheduled for January 31, Emmanuel Macron and his executive take advantage of this formal meeting to reaffirm their objective: a parliamentary debate at a run for the entry into force of the disputed project in the summer.

The postponement of the legal retirement age from 62 to 64, the flagship measure of the reform, is rejected by the unions, unanimously, as well as by most of the opposition and, according to the polls, a large majority the French.

“You have to be able to move forward”

The Head of State, who said on Sunday that he had already shown “openness” to the program for his second five-year term which initially provided for a retirement age of 65, refused to say clearly that he maintain the age of 64 until the end, so as not to “substitute” the parliamentary debate.

“I hope that the government, with the parliamentarians”, can “adjust” the text, he assured. Before being more inflexible: “the needs” are “known”, and “I believe that there, now, we must be able to move forward”.

>> To read also: “Pensions: is the reform ‘indispensable’, as the government claims?”

Its ministers take turns to ensure that they are ready for “dialogue” in order to “enrich” the text… but only on the margins. They opened the door for the first time, during the weekend, to firmer measures on the employment of seniors.

The Minister of Public Accounts, Gabriel Attal, thus said he was ready to “look without taboo at coercive measures for companies that would not play the game”, while for the time being, the government is simply betting on an “index”. which leaves the unions dubious.

On the other hand, Gabriel Attal showed himself to be less willing on another point which is tense even in the ranks of the Les Républicains party, yet the only announced ally of the executive in the National Assembly: the fact that the people who have started to work in 20 years will have to contribute 44 years, and not 43 like the others, to obtain a pension at full rate. The “enrichments” yes, but not if they derail the financial balance of the system, promised by 2030, he warned.

The deputy of the presidential majority Marc Ferracci, close to Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile assured Monday that “everything will be done to discuss, to get to the bottom of things and to improve the text”.

The MoDem deputies will, themselves, propose to increase the weekly working time by half an hour, receiving a lukewarm reception from the government.

“We hope to do even stronger on 31”

Opponents of the reform tirelessly demand the outright withdrawal of “age measures”.

Deputy François Ruffin assured Sunday that La France insoumise would bring “a determined opposition” to the Assembly.

The president of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, said he expected “difficult and uncertain times”, proposing a “referendum” as a “top exit”.

“We hope to do even stronger on the 31st”, warned the secretary general of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, stressing that “until then, every day, there will be initiatives in companies, in the departments”.

As for the leader of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, he deplored the form chosen by the executive to examine his bill: an amending budget for Social Security, which makes it possible to limit the debates in time and to use at leisure the weapon of 49.3.

“You cannot evade this text on pensions, in this social climate”, he argued on France 5.

The unprecedented choice of the executive to resort to article 47.1 of the Constitution to quickly adopt the text also ulcerates the left: the rebellious Alexis Corbière denounced Monday “an abusive use” of this article, which limits to 20 days the examination of the text by the National Assembly, convinced that “the Constitutional Council could invalidate it”.

With AFP

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