A few days away from creating his own political party – on October 9 – former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe emphasized in an interview with the weekly Challenges Thursday, September 30 on the weight of the public debt, “A fundamental question of national sovereignty”.
“We prefer to continue dancing above the volcano than to take the measures, drastic – and sometimes bitter -, which are necessary”, regrets the current mayor of Le Havre, considering in this context that “The first reform to be made is that of pensions”. Mr. Philippe had initiated this reform during his stay at Matignon, even activating article 49.3, before stopping the machine with the Covid crisis.
While the Head of State intended to initiate part of the reform this year in order to abolish special retirement schemes and establish the minimum pension at 1,000 euros, the successor of Edouard Philippe in Matignon, Jean Castex, estimated at the beginning of September that this reform could only be launched “When the pandemic is under control and when the economic recovery is strong enough”. “To date, these conditions are still not met”, he had asserted.
But for the former prime minister, “At nearly 330 billion, pensions are by far the largest budget item – more than a quarter of public spending – and the first source of possible savings”. And among the levers available, “The only reasonable solution is therefore to extend the working life by pushing back the retirement age to 65, 66 or 67”. “It is not an easy measure to carry, it can be progressive, but those who promise to settle the question of pensions without increasing the length of the working life are lying to the French”, he insists.
Reduction of civil servants in local communities
The former head of government is also advancing the possibility of not merging the 42 pension plans into one – as initially envisaged by Mr. Macron – but keeping three. “Private sector employees, civil servants and the self-employed”.
Among the other avenues of economy raised by Mr. Philippe is the reduction in the number of civil servants in local communities. “We can also wonder if all public jobs need to be occupied by people with the status of civil servants”, he slips, multiplying the markers on the right.
As for the commitment income for young people, promised by Emmanuel Macron but whose outlines have yet to be clarified, Mr. Philippe is dubious: “Distributing an income for young people while taking the risk of discouraging entry into the labor market seems to me more questionable. “