News

French parliament clears path for controversial pension reform

March 4, 2020 04:31 PM


Twitter Share Facebook Share WhatsApp Share

France's lower house of parliament approved a hotly debated overhaul of the country's byzantine pensions system early Wednesday, clearing a major hurdle for one of President Emmanuel Macron's signature reforms.

The law passed shortly after midnight after two no-confidence votes introduced by the opposition failed against Macron's centrist majority.

The attempt to topple the government came after it employed a rare constitutional measure to cut short a debate that had become bogged down in a morass of opposition amendments, effectively forcing through the bill.

Trade unions and opposition parties slammed the move as anti-democratic but their calls for fresh protests against a bill that triggered the longest French transport strike in decades fell largely on deaf ears.

Critics say the introduction of a single, points-based system will force people to work well beyond the official retirement age of 62, or face lower pensions.

The government argues that abolishing the country's 42 separate pension regimes, which offer early retirement and other benefits mainly to public-sector workers, will be fairer and end years of deficits.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe hailed the text as a victory for "social justice", saying that "those who defend the status quo... too often are just talking nonsense."

The text now goes to the Senate, where it is also expected to face opposition, before returning to the National Assembly for final approval.

Questions remain

If passed, the reform will be phased in gradually over the coming years for people born since 1975 but will not affect the pensions of those already nearing  retirement age.

Macron's overhaul is the most extensive in a series of pension reforms enacted by governments on both the left and right in recent years, aiming to end chronic budget shortfalls as people live longer.

A government commission estimated last year that the deficit could reach as much as 17 billion euros ($19 billion) by 2025 if no changes are made.

Yet many details of the reform, including how much a point will be worth when people retire, have yet to be determined.

Many people remain sceptical of the new system, with 56 percent of voters in an Ifop poll published on February 13 saying they opposed a points-based system.

The government has promised to negotiate with unions on how to finance the new system, but it has already warned that if no deal is reached people will have to work beyond 62, one of the lowest retirement ages in the EU.



24 HD English WhatsApp Channel QR Code Click or Scan to Subscribe
our WhatsApp Channel

Most Read

  1. Punjab ministry, school education dept toy with summer vacations announcement Punjab ministry, school education dept toy with summer vacations announcement
  2. Iran President Raisi, foreign minister die in helicopter crash Iran President Raisi, foreign minister die in helicopter crash
  3. Several PIA flights cancelled, delayed at Karachi Airport Several PIA flights cancelled, delayed at Karachi Airport
  4. Iqrar ul Hassan issues video statement after attacked by Peer Haq Khateeb's followers in Gujranwala Iqrar ul Hassan issues video statement after attacked by Peer Haq Khateeb's followers in Gujranwala
  5. PTI Spokesman Rauf Hassan attacked by transgender people in Islamabad PTI Spokesman Rauf Hassan attacked by transgender people in Islamabad
  6. Urvashi Rautela sets Cannes aglow with her unique neckpiece Urvashi Rautela sets Cannes aglow with her unique neckpiece

Opinion

  1. Hats off to Fatah-II
    Hats off to Fatah-II

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  2. New twist in PTI founder’s strategy towards Military Establishment
    New twist in PTI founder’s strategy towards Military Establishment

    By Salim Bokhari

  3. Revoke the heat stroke
    Revoke the heat stroke

    By Dr Asif Channer

  4. Defiance, sacrifice & national resilience
    Defiance, sacrifice & national resilience

    By Naveed Aman Khan

  5. Maryam Nawaz Sharif's Police Uniform: Breaking Gender Stereotypes, Not Minds
    Maryam Nawaz Sharif's Police Uniform: Breaking Gender Stereotypes, Not Minds

    By Alysha Khan

  6. Pak-Saudi-Iran economic proximity
    Pak-Saudi-Iran economic proximity

    By News Desk