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Pension reform: Emmanuel Macron delays on the method but keeps the course of a law passed this winter


A dinner to put all the options on the table. And decide. At the Elysée, around a seafood platter made up of oysters, whelks and prawns, the twenty-one guests were counted, Wednesday, September 28. In search of a way through to reform pensions, Emmanuel Macron has brought together the leaders of his majority – weighty ministers, group leaders in the National Assembly and the Senate, party presidents, whose list has not not communicated – to take the pulse of his own side.

Will the extension of working hours be included in an amendment to the Social Security financing bill (PLFSS) from October? Or in January 2023 in a corrective PLFSS, to allow time for consultation but also, as with any financial text, the possibility of activating 49.3?

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In the end, it was the classic method, seemingly less brutal, that was chosen: present the pension reform in a dedicated bill and voted on during the winter, at the end of 2022 or at the very beginning of 2023. Leaving a gap for consultation, while confirming the objective of raising the retirement age to 65.

This middle way was not obvious. United behind the Head of State, seven guests first pleaded for ” go fast “ by an amendment to the PLFSS. François Patriat, leader of the Macronist group in the Senate, is one of them. “You have to strike while the iron is hot, always back off, it’s lose-lose”explained shortly before the feast the elected official of the Côte-d’Or, who fears criticism in immobility.

His counterpart in the National Assembly, Aurore Bergé, assured the cohesion of the Renaissance group behind this idea. “There is no hidden agenda, the subject was widely debated during the election campaign”, she had argued the day before. Convinced that a reform difficult to swallow today will seem even more painful tomorrow, the ministers Bruno Le Maire (economy), Gabriel Attal (budget), Gérald Darmanin (interior), Olivier Véran (spokesperson) pleaded to accelerate. As well as Stéphane Séjourné, the new leader of the presidential party.

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Cautious, the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, tried to slow down against the defenders of the fast lane. At Matignon, his services have shown legislative creativity in recent days to imagine a third way, that of a reform included in a “PLFSS bis”, an amending social budget. Olivier Dussopt (labour), Franck Riester (relations with Parliament) and Richard Ferrand (ex-president of the National Assembly) have chosen this way out, which has the merit of not causing the disgruntled ally to lose face of the MoDem, placed just opposite the head of state, and next to Aurore Bergé, a fervent supporter of the express reform.

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