Macron plans to raise French retirement age to 65

Emmanuel Macron plans to raise the retirement age in France to 65 if he is elected for a second term, government spokesman Gabriel Attal has confirmed, reopening a contentious issue that sparked widespread strikes in 2019.

Macron plans to raise French retirement age to 65
Pensions have been the cause of numerous protests in France in recent years, including this one in October 2021 in Bordeaux. (Photo: Philippe Lopez / AFP)

The president had declared in December that he wanted the French to “work longer”, and has repeated the message twice, firstly in his open letter to the French people in which he finally declared his candidacy for the Elysée, and secondly at a meeting involving a number of elected officials who had signed letters of sponsorship in his favour to allow him to run for a second term.

According to one person at that meeting, Macron said that he intended to bring “an ambitious pension reform for a social model that holds, […] but which also requires an investment for solidarity between generations and a project for the ‘autonomy’.”

And Attal confirmed the progressive pull back of the retirement age in an interview on RTL this morning.

The current official retirement age in France is 62, although workers in many industry including train drivers have ‘special regimes’ that allow them to retire earlier, in some cases from 55.

During his first term, Macron proposed a reform that simplified the system and got rid of the special regimes. Retirement age remained at 62, although a full pension was only granted from 64. 

Approved by Parliament despite two months of protests and strikes in 2019, the changes were in the end not rolled out because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO Macron: No pension reform in France before elections

But now-candidate Macron is set to push on with his plans and in fact expand them – including adding three years on to the working life of most French people, a policy in line with that of Presidential rival Valérie Pécresse.

President of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand, who will represent Emmanuel Macron during an audition of candidates before the CFDT on Thursday, is set to outline the plans in more detail.

Macron’s campaign team promised that pensions would be simplified under the reforms: the transition to 65 years will be rolled out over a 10-year period, and will be accompanied by a number of other reforms, including a new minimum pension of €1,100 per month for those who have a full work history.

In addition, Emmanuel Macron wants to remove “the main special regimes” including those of workers at RATP or EDF, Le Figaro has reported.

The paper added that France’s pensions bill was €327.9 billion in 2019, or 13.5 percent of GDP, and the pension pot was in deficit to the tune of €18 billion in 2020.

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‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.