Proposed reforms will coddle the old and squeeze the young
After months of talks, endless delays and a week of disruptive strikes, the French government finally unveiled on December 11th its long-promised pension reform. The good news is that it has decided to press ahead with its plans, including the abolition of regimes with special privileges, despite the biggest show of union force on the streets since President Emmanuel Macron took office in May 2017. The bad news is that the new system will push the full burden of the changes on to France’s younger generations.
In a speech that leaned studiously to the left, Edouard Philippe, the centre-right prime minister, described the new universal points-based system as a “fairer” system that will guarantee “social justice”. It will replace the current sprawl of 42 regimes, most of which have different rules. For those beginning their working life, the new rules will apply from 2022, and from 2025 for those already in work but currently under the age of 45. Older generations will keep the existing rules. Sliding transition rules will bring the new system fully into effect by 2037.