Can France liberalize pensions and labor under Macron?
The French people have consistently opposed any liberalization of the labor market. Now, President Emmanuel Macron wants to do exactly that to, he says, combat unemployment. Trade unions have already called for protests.
few weeks after taking office in 1995, French Prime Minister Alain Juppe still had a relatively good approval rating. Immediately after his appointment by new President Jacques Chirac, the prime minister threw himself into what he called his “battle for more jobs.”
But France’s government did not have much money to spread around. Public finances were in the red. With about 3 million people unemployed at the time – and, therefore, fewer and fewer people paying into the system – the deficit was increasing by the day.
Juppe had a plan. He wanted to raise the pension age for public sector employees and completely reorganize the social security system. Experts describe it as the biggest change since the safety net was strung in 1945. And the prime minister had the French Democratic Confederation of Labor, a major conglomeration of trade unions, on his side.