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Should people in France work more to pay for ‘unique’ social model?

A majority of people who were polled said they disagree with the idea which was put forward by the prime minister earlier this week

French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne believes people should collectively work more to sustain the country’s unique social model Pic: Vectorfusionart / Shutterstock

A majority of people who were polled recently in France disapprove of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne’s claim that people “should collectively work more” to sustain the country’s social model. 

Ms Borne made the comment during an interview on Monday (September 26). 

“It is important to say that in France, we have a social model that is unique in the world,” she said on BFMTV.

“Health, school… we can only finance it sustainably if we produce more resources, collectively work more.”

BFMTV followed up the comments by commissioning a poll, carried out by Elabe, which involved asking a sample of 1,001 people around the country what they think about the statement: ‘we need to work more so as to be able to finance the French social model’. 

A majority of respondents - 55% - said they disapprove of the suggestion. This figure rose to 64% among those who are currently working and to 71% for those working in manual labouring jobs. 

Pensioners, however, were more positive, with 62% agreeing with Ms Borne’s statement. 

The poll also asked people what their major political concerns were for the coming months. Out of a possible 17 options, 58% chose spending power as their major concern. 

That was followed by the environment (26%), health (26%), and security (25%). 

Pensions came in sixth position with 22% citing it as their main concern. 

Pension reform talks

Ms Borne’s comments come as the government looks to open a new round of consultations to try to hash out pension reforms. 

The aim is to adopt a draft bill before the end of the winter with the measures coming into effect from summer 2023. 

Ms Borne has asked labour minister Olivier Dussopt to start negotiations next week with employers' organisations and trade unions, as well as with parliamentary groups to come up with concrete reforms. 

Plans to reform the pension system have been underway since pre-2020 but were delayed by the Covid pandemic.

Proposals include new ways of taking into account long or ‘difficult’ working lives, and a new minimum pension for those who have paid in long enough for a ‘full rate’ of €1,100. 

Removing many ‘special regimes’ to come closer to a universal pension system is another idea.

President Emmanuel Macron also wants to increase the retirement age from 62 to 65, but this measure has proven widely unpopular. 

What do you think of the idea that people in France should collectively work more to pay for the country’s social benefits? Let us know at

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