Pension reform, fifth season episode 3
The Prime Minister intervention on Sunday, during the news broadcast of France 2, will not only underline the end of the summer. It will also be an opportunity to close the second stage of the communication strategy on the pension reform, announced earlier this year by the head of state.
First of all, from January to May, the government “set in”, François Mitterrand would say “instil”, the idea that a new reform was essential. This preliminary step concluded by the submission of the committee report, chaired by Yannick Moreau, analyzed the advantages and drawbacks of various options.
The publication of the findings from the study helped to launch the second stage of the debate, the exchanges and meetings with the social partners. It also prepared how some (unions) or the others (employers) and the different political currents of the government majority would accept such measures. In July, all the choices seemed available insomuch to raise protests with parliamentarians from the majority. They questioned the value of an “anxious” communication as they qualified it.
Since early August, the range of solutions seems to be severely restricted. By short sentences commented during ministerial trips and through confidences of the travel counselors, three ideas are emerging: the lengthening of the contribution period would only be effective after 2020, a broader definition of work hardness would allow the exemption of some employees, an increase of the CSG (Generalized Social Contribution / tax) would provide, for the time being, the opportunity to plug the immediate financial hole of the general pension system.
Although in 2003 and 2010, during the previous reforms, it had been widely question (the emphasis on the hardness of the work is obviously a good way to give a social dimension to the reform) to try “lefting” (meaning going further on the left wing ideology) in order to avoid assimilation with those carried out during the past decade from the right wing.
Unless a last minute surprise comes up, which would result a third level in the pedagogy – I worry, I reassured (on the left wing), I balance (to ease the economic and financial circles) – these are broad guidelines that the Prime Minister should announce Sunday and should take over the bill announced in mid-September. Thus, with the third stage of the reform, the Parliament debate will be opened and possibly political confrontation will occur.
The Ayrault Government might hope, through this communication strategy, they succeeded to clarify an “explosive” subject. The Prime Minister got the means for a more peaceful return, more than what was announced by many political commentators. He seems to be prepared to a difficult future. The increase of the CSG is neither the best way to mobilize voters for the municipal elections on March, nor a support of growth through consumption. Just like it does not convince the markets and our European partners on the ability to recover our economy and consequently the reform of our social model.