Skip to main content
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
Get full digital access to globeandmail.com
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
A scary good deal on trusted journalism
$0.99
per week
for 24 weeks
SAVE OVER $140
OFFER ENDS OCTOBER 31
// //

France's President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 12, 2021.

Michel Euler/The Associated Press

France needs to push back the retirement age and the government will continue its pension reforms as soon as the COVID-19 situation is under control, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a televised speech on Monday.

Pension reform was a central pillar of Macron’s drive to create a more flexible and competitive labour market, while also reducing its financial burden on the state coffers.

However, his initial proposal infuriated the unions and provoked weeks of protests and transport strikes just before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Macron put it on hold as he ordered France into lockdown a year and a half ago.

Story continues below advertisement

But on Monday, less than a year before the next presidential election, Macron revived the campaign pledge that aides see as an essential plank of his reformist credibility with some voters, while conditioning it on a return to a normal health situation.

“Yes, our pension system is unfair. We will need to go towards more simplicity, more fairness,” Macron said in the speech. “We will have to work longer and take our retirement later.”

He also said that special pension regimes in certain industries – which concern workers in highly unionized and strike-prone sectors such as public transport or power plants – will be scrapped for new recruits.

An Elysee official told Reuters Macron will tell the government to hold discussions with unions on pensions as soon as September, pending on the health situation.

Sources told Reuters last month one of the options being studied was to push the legal retirement age by two years to 64 – something the government had stopped short of in its previous proposal.

Macron said he also wanted the minimum pension to be set at 1,000 euros a month. Many pensioners, often agricultural workers, scrap by with only 300 or 400 euros currently.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies