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"The construction of a balanced intergenerational pact should be at the heart of the major pension reform"

The sociologist recalls, in a tribune to the "World", that it is not by pushing back the "age limit" but by extending the duration of active life that the government will manage to balance the pension system.

Posted today at 08:44, updated at 08:55 Time to Reading 5 min.

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"The postponement of the retirement age would only transfer to other social budgets the coverage of this new insecurity, without reducing the overall envelope of social spending" (Emmanuel Macron, April 25, at the Elysium).
"The postponement of the retirement age would only transfer to other social budgets the coverage of this new insecurity, without reducing the overall envelope of social spending" (Emmanuel Macron, April 25, at the Elysium). Michel Euler / AP

Tribune. The President of the Republic has ended the debate on a possible postponement beyond 62 years of the legal retirement age, which had arisen in his government, pronouncing clearly against this measure, Thursday, April 25, during his press conference. The vagueness about this issue in recent weeks had seriously undermined the work of consultation with the unions engaged by Jean-Paul Delevoye, the High Commissioner in charge of pension reform. It was high time to end it.

The principle of a postponement of the retirement age is a long-standing totem of the right and of all those who see in the pension system only a financial cost that is urgent to contain because of the aging Population. This strictly accounting view conceals the real issues of reform, which are primarily social and human.

The French no longer have confidence in their pension system. At least three quarters of the assets consider it fragile, inegalitarian, out of date and incapable of ensuring a satisfactory retirement in the future (Fondapol survey, November 2018). This finding is very worrying for a pay-as-you-go system based on the principle of long-term intergenerational solidarity. Let there be some doubt about the equity and sustainability of this long chain of intergenerational solidarity, and that is the end of pay-as-you-go retirement.

The mistrust expressed overwhelmingly by the French highlights that the urgency of the reform is first of all to restore confidence by restoring equity and justice in an intergenerational solidarity pact that has become a pact of sacrifice, particularly in the eyes of the people. youth. They have the impression that seniors leave them debt because the successive parametric reforms, mainly on the legal age and contribution period required for a full pension, have set retreats ever more distant and less generous without no consideration.

"First win the battle for employment"

Therefore, to return to parametric reform, as advocates of postponement of the retirement age evoked, could only deepen the distrust of the French with respect to their pension system. Worse, it could paradoxically be ineffective in containing social spending. For if the previous reforms had the merit of having managed to stabilize the financial cost of pension systems around 14% of gross domestic product (GDP) and postponed the liquidation ages to 62 years and even to 63 years in 2030, they have not prolonged working life in the same proportions. More than 40% of those who retire at age 62 are no longer employed today. They find themselves unemployed, in social minima, in disability or in inactivity.

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