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French finance minister says pension reform should not be postponed by Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire visits a café during preparations for the reopening of restaurants and bars in Paris as part of easing the country’s closure restrictions amid the disease outbreak coronavirus (COVID-19).

PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron should not postpone the revival of a shelved pension reform, although the risks of further social conflict ahead of next year’s presidential elections must be carefully weighed, Finance Minister Bruno said on Tuesday. Le Maire.

When the coronavirus outbreak hit France early last year, the government put a planned review of the pension system on hold, which it came close to passing after weeks of strikes.

As the COVID-19 crisis subsides, the government has begun exploring new ways to move forward with pension system reform before the end of Macron’s term in 2022, said two sources familiar with the discussions earlier this year. month.

The reactivation of the reform, which in its previous version would have created incentives to withdraw later, could reignite social unrest just as Macron is likely to run for re-election in a presidential vote next April.

When asked on Cnews television if reform would come before the election, Le Maire said: “In my experience, in politics we are never interested in postponing until tomorrow what can be done today.”

“We have to take into account if there are social risks, if there is a risk of problems,” he said, adding that the decision must be made by the president.

Le Maire said that currently too many people are leaving the workforce too soon and said France could not afford to postpone the decision to work longer.

The initial proposal included the replacement of dozens of sectoral pension schemes with a universal point-based system. While most workers would not be able to collect a full pension right away if they retired before age 64, the legal age was to remain at 62.

One of the options currently being explored is to increase the legal retirement age by two years to 64 and increase the minimum state pension as a sweetener, sources said earlier this month.

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