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Protests in France against the pension reform. Commentary by Marek Góra and Jarosław Kuisz

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Pension solutions are treated as a civilizational achievement to which France contributed. They arouse a kind of national pride – said in the program “Taj jest” dr hab. Jarosław Kuisz, sociologist explaining the cultural differences between France and Poland. Prof. Marek Góra, an economist from SHG, added that “in order for society to create prosperity, it must work, there is no way around it.” However, he emphasized that the retirement age in Poland and France are different concepts.

In the program “Tak jest” on TVN24, the guests were prof. Marek Góra, an economist from the Warsaw School of Economics and dr hab. Jarosław Kuisz, sociologist of “Kultura Liberalna”. They commented on the riots in France associated with the increase in the retirement age.

There are protests against the pension reform in France. On Tuesday, demonstrators blocked traffic on railways and motorways, and clashes with the police broke out in some cities. In Paris, after an initially peaceful rally, demonstrators smashed shop windows and set trash cans on fire. Order in the capital is guarded by 5,500 officers, and 13,000 throughout the country.

Protests in Paris PAP/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

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The difference between France and Poland

Jarosław Kuisz referred to the cultural differences between France and Poland.

– As far as France is concerned, it is treated as a national boon. Pension solutions are treated as a civilizational achievement to which France contributed. They arouse a kind of national pride – he explained.

He gave the example that the local MPs say that “we have not come a long way since the French Revolution to now allow the increase in the retirement age and lead to a situation where the elderly will be disadvantaged again.”

– WITH polls shows that the French are very pessimistic about the future. Bigger than Poles. After the COVID pandemic, they are tired of work and are holding on to a sure anchor. These pension it is at least something certain for the future, both for the old and the young. That’s why Macron is smashing his teeth over street protests, Kuisz noted.

The French protest against raising the retirement age (photo from March 28)PAP/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Retirement age: it will be much later anyway. He can’t help it

Marek Góra pointed out that the retirement age for young French people will be much higher.

– There is no doubt about that. It is worth looking at it in the context that the protests, whether in France or here in Poland, were related to what is “here and now”. However, for people who are 30, 40 or 50 years old, it is irrelevant, because the retirement age will be much later anyway. There’s no way around that, he said.

Protests in the streets of Paris (photo from March 28)PAP/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

He explained that this is necessary for many reasons.

– For society to create prosperity, it must work. Nothing to be done. We can think of how to organize it in detail, but society as a whole has to generate the means for itself to consume. If there are fewer people who enter the labor market and more people who leave, then those who leave live long, which is a great civilizational achievement, but also a costly one – he said.

He added that “in order to bear these costs, you need to have funds from somewhere.”

– Or you have to burden young people more, which has already been done in most countries, including Poland. Or you have to take the elders away, which is of course a political “killer”. No one will do it, because he will immediately end his career in politics. The only thing left is to extend the period of activity – he said in an interview.

He emphasized that “if a Frenchman works longer, he will do it for the glory of his homeland, because the budget will be in a better position. When a Pole works longer, he does it for himself, because he increases his own pension.” – Retirement age in Poland and France are different concepts. In France, when you reach retirement age, you get fired. In Poland, I can retire, but because of my age, they don’t let me go. In Poland, we have a better situation, but we are unable to see it and draw conclusions – he concluded.

Protests in France. “Retirement age will be much later anyway. There is no way around it”TVN24

Read more: Protests in France. Riots and clashes with the police in several cities

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON



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