The government’s return to school in 2023 is off to a flying start. After 2022 marked by war and inflation in Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron brought all ministers together for breakfast at the Elysée this Wednesday, January 4, ahead of the first council of ministers of the year. On December 31, the head of state showed his determination to rapidly continue the reforms while greeting the French. “This year will be a year of pension reforms aimed at ensuring the balance of our system for years and decades to come. We have to work harder, that’s what the unemployment insurance reform backed by the government and passed by Parliament means. This is the meaning of this reform, where the social partners and the government will work in the coming months to complete the implementation of the new rules that will apply from the end of summer 2023. the president said.
Days before the introduction of an explosive pension reform scheduled for January 10, the executive branch is making a series of appeasement gestures to avoid the risk of spreading social anger. On Tuesday, January 3, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne reminded that retirement at the age of 65 is not a “totem”. It should be recalled that the President of the Republic already made such a statement during the break between the two rounds of the presidential campaign last spring in order to attract leftist votes against Marine Le Pen. That didn’t stop her from returning to the 65-year-old’s offer later.
Since the fall, protests have emerged across the country and in many sectors. The morale of the French remains very low. Last December, public confidence remained stable at 82, a level comparable to September 2022, according to the latest INSEE figures released on Wednesday, January 4.
Inflation started to slow down to 5.9% in December against 6.2% in November, but the price index remains at a high level compared to the last decade. “There is a risk of social conflict because this is a highly volatile topic. This reform can mobilize many people over time. These include previous reforms in 2003, 2010 and 2019. There is a form of solidarity among the strikers. Last September, two-thirds of French people said they were ready to support a protest movement if it started. This file is potentially mobilizing, “said Ervan Lestrohan, consultant director of the Odoxa survey institute, who was interviewed. Gallery.
Aid to bakers, pressure on energy suppliers
After health, transport, energy, education, anger is growing among artists. Bakers and confectioners are on the front line amid rising raw material and energy prices. To defuse the controversy, the Minister of Economy, Bruno Le Maire, and the Minister of Crafts, Olivia Grégoire, received representatives of the bakery in Bercy this Tuesday, January 3. The government has announced the postponement of social security contributions and tax deductions for bakers.
And he mentioned the presence of an electricity buffer and a help desk for paying electricity and gas bills. The Minister of Economy also emphasized that during the “prohibitive” price increase, bakers will be able to cancel the energy supply contract free of charge.
In the second half of the day, the government gave a lecture to energy suppliers. If energy companies don’t fall in line, “we can always buy more from suppliersenergy More than what we do today,” warned Bruno Le mayorafter months of heated debate over the taxation of “super profits”.
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A reduction in unemployment insurance in Trompe l’oeil
The publication of a controversial decree on unemployment insurance on December 23, just before Christmas, caused a wave of consternation. The text provided for a 40% reduction in the compensation period if unemployment fell below 6%. During his interview french news, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced the withdrawal of this harsh decree. This decision was welcomed by a part of the left and trade unions.
However, the head of government did not hide that the decree was far from being definitively buried. “We will bring this subject back to the consultation on future unemployment insurance rules planned for the end of 2023,” Ms Borne said, adding she thought it was “the right rule for compensation”. Above all, several trade unions pointed to the risk that the State Council would revoke the decree without consultation.
Unions stand up, march for future pensions
After a two-day meeting in Matignon, the majority of trade unions protested the pension reform. CFDT Secretary General Laurent Berger criticized the option of lowering the starting age to either 65 or 64, the latter option being chosen by Elisabeth Borne.
For his part, the president of CFE-CGC, François Hommeril, also mentioned his opposition to the BFM Business antenna. “There is no room for negotiations with the government. The project is the same as before. The government’s goal is to increase the retirement age. This is not acceptable for trade unions and CFE-CGC. »
A rebel in the ranks of the left is preparing a big march for pensions on January 21, two days before the presentation of the reform in the French Council of Ministers. “The French state that there is a need for consultation on the pension reform. A transition in force can degenerate things. The use of 49-3 is considered unacceptable for 70% of French people,” warns Erwan Lestrohan. January promises to be especially stormy.