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Pension reform in France. Why are the French protesting?

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The scale of protests in France after the introduction of the pension reform surprises foreign commentators, because it only partially aligns the retirement age with the norms of neighboring countries, the Reuters agency points out, citing OECD data on French pensions. According to them, French retirees spend 23.5 years in retirement and receive nearly three-quarters of their last salary net.

The French spend on retired 23.5 years, i.e. the longest period in Europe after the inhabitants of Luxembourg and receiving a net almost three-quarters of the salary before retirement, according to OECD data, which was quoted by the Reuters agency on Tuesday. Together with Greece France currently has the lowest retirement age in Europe (62), while the average across the European Union is 64.8 years. British and Germany spend 20 years in retirement, and only the Luxembourgers are ahead of the French in this matter, because statistically they live 24 years in retirement.

Protests against the pension reform. Railwaymen stormed into the headquarters of the LVMH concernPAP/EPA/YOAN VALAT

Lowest proportion of poor retirees

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Also, the income of French pensioners is statistically higher than pensions in neighboring countries: in the UK they average 58% of GDP. pre-retirement earnings, and in Germany – 53 percent. – according to data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

France spends the equivalent of 14% on pensions. total economic output, which is almost double the average input in OECD countries; Just Italy and Greece allocate larger sums to the pension system. However, thanks to such investments, France has one of the lowest percentage of pensioners living in poverty among advanced countries, at 4%, compared to the OECD average of 13%.

The effective retirement age is lower

Following the implementation of a government reform in the autumn, the retirement age in France will be gradually raised to 64; currently it is 62. However, in practice, at what age you can retire depends on the contribution period. Now it is obligatory for 42 years, and after the entry into force of the reform – 43 years. The French effectively leave the labor market at the age of 60.4 on average, the average for OECD countries is 63.8 years.

Trade unions promise to maintain the protests

On Friday, after the Constitutional Council approved most of the assumptions of the reform of the pension system, clashes with the police broke out in Paris, Lyon and Nantes, and the entrance to the police station was set on fire in Rennes. Trade unions announced further protests and rejected President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to talks about the reform.

Protest in Paris after the Constitutional Council approved the pension reformPAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

Since January, cyclical protests have been held across the country against these changes, gathering hundreds of thousands of demonstrators.

Main photo source: EPA/Teresa Suarez Provider: PAP/EPA.



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