Tuesday, July 5

France’s Macron Aims to Enact Pension Reform by Mid-2023


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President Emmanuel Macron aims to reform France’s pension system by the summer of 2023, he told French news outlets in his first extended interview since his re-election in April.

The reform, which initially aimed to lift the retirement age from 62 to 65, is essential to financing Macron’s larger ambitions for his second five-year term. He discussed those plans in an interview with Le Parisien and regional French news outlets.

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Macron, who planned to reform the retirement system in 2020, had to postpone the change when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The president made this reform a key part of his program for re-election, though he softened it during the campaign to lure leftist voters in the run-off against far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Macron also said he wants to create an advisory council made up of representatives from the political, economic, social and non-profit sectors, as well as by regional elected officials and French citizens selected at random. This body would work on priorities that Macron set out for his new term during the presidential campaign — which include full employment and national carbon neutrality.

“This council, which I will kick off myself, will start right after the legislative elections,” Macron said. “It will be the body through which we will bring our reforms to life…The first one will relate to purchasing power,” which is eroding as inflation rises in France.

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Macron, who says the French no longer want a top-down approach, didn’t elaborate on how much power this body would have or whether it could override any of his own policy preferences.

The president also publicly addressed for the first time the violence after the Champions League final in the Stade de France near Paris last weekend.

Macron said he was “outraged” by the disorder around the stadium and backed compensation to families that could not reach their seats. Macron vowed an explanation to the UK, France and Spain, whose citizens attended the soccer match.

No risk of power cuts

Macron said there wouldn’t be any risk of power cuts next winter despite the shutdown of several nuclear reactors. The president, who said Europe’s energy market can be depended on, intends to accelerate investments in the country’s nuclear program and in renewable resources.

Macron did not rule out traveling to Ukraine, where he hasn’t been since Russia’s military invaded in late February. He said he aims to increase France’s financial and military aid to Ukraine.

The president, who said he spent about a hundred hours speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, defended France’s efforts to mediate in the war. Still, he said he told Putin that he made a “fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history .”

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