French PM says ‘no magic’ speech coming on pensions

There will be “no magic announcements” to stop the pension strikes, Édouard Philippe has said, ahead of his speech on the issue today, as it emerges that the reforms will apply only to those born after 1975.

11 December 2019
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is to address the issue of pensions publicly at midday today (December 11)
By Connexion journalist

Mr Philippe is expected to speak out in response to the pension reform strikes today (Wednesday December 11) at midday. Last night (Tuesday December 10), to a group of supportive LREM MPs, he said that “there are no magic announcements [that can] make the strikes and questions stop” on the issue.

Mr Philippe said: “Just because I make a speech on Wednesday at midday, does not mean that strikes will stop. This speech will actually cause people to ask more questions. And that’s to be expected. There will be questions and debates in the Hémicycle [the Assemblée Nationale] on legitimate issues.”

He added: “People do not believe us before they see the effects of what we are doing. They do not believe us either, when we tell them what will happen if we do not change the system. We will have a very tough explanation job ahead of us.”

Mr Philippe was received with a standing ovation by the LREM MPs, who later reported his comments to news sources France Télévisions and the Agence France-Presse.

The Prime Minister's speech at midday is set to be to the Conseil Économique, Social et Environnemental. This is because, he said, the CESE "represents the union organisations, and this is its function, to be a chamber of social dialogue."

Ahead of Mr Philippe's speech, President Macron appears to have confirmed that the proposed pension reforms will only come into force in 2025, and will only apply to those born after 1975, according to reports from the Élysée Palace, after relevant ministers met late last night.

The proposals were initially due to apply to anyone born after 1963, but no consensus was found. The new rules are now expected to apply to anyone who will be aged 50 or over on January 1, 2025.

The minimum legal age of retirement (62) is not set to change, but people will be incentivised to work longer if possible. The age at which a worker can leave on a full pension will still be fixed at 64.

New workers who will be affected directly by the “new regime” will enter the workforce on January 1, 2022. Also from this date, the minimum retirement amount will be set at €1,000 per month.

The government will continue to offer several grants to certain sectors - including care workers, teachers, and police officers - to allow them to “rebuild their careers so they do not lose out” under the new system, according to one of the participants at Mr Macron’s meeting, speaking to news source FranceInter.

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