Opponents of the pension reform demonstrated in Bordeaux on January 24. - UGO AMEZ / SIPA
- Every year since 2010, the European Commission has published recommendations for the Member States.
- She published recommendations on the French pension system there.
- These recommendations are used by opponents of the reform as evidence that the Commission "orders" the reform. These recommendations are not binding, explain two researchers at 20 Minutes .
Has the European Commission "ordered" France to reform pensions? This was affirmed by Younous Omarjee, LFI MEP. "Who is ordering France to reform pensions? The European Union!, He wrote on January 16. What purpose ? Save money, impose austerity and reduce debt! The elected official brought in copies of a document entitled "recommendations of the council on the reform program for France".
🔴 WHO WILL ORDER FRANCE A #reformedesretraites?
➡️ THE EUROPEAN UNION!
🟠 WHAT PURPOSE?
➡️ SAVE SAVINGS, IMPOSE AUSTERITY AND LIGHTEN DEBT!
➡️ DOCUMENT OF “RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COUNCIL ON THE REFORM PROGRAM FOR FRANCE” pic.twitter.com/fc9GspkZkJ
A month earlier, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan had made an almost similar argument. The member for Essonne (Debout la France) had argued that "since 2013, the European Commission has been" putting pressure "on France so that a pension reform is imposed on the French in" 2020 at the latest "! On the orders of the European Union, Emmanuel Macron will therefore impoverish our retirees and force-feed our pension funds! "
Do not forget. Since 2013, the European Commission has been "putting pressure" on France to have a pension reform imposed on the French in "2020 at the latest"!
On the orders of the European Union, E. Macron will therefore impoverish our retirees and force-feed pension funds! pic.twitter.com/b4zVmN6emP
- Does the document cited by Younous Omarjee evoke pension reform?
This document was published on June 5, 2019 by the European Commission and the Council of the EU (which brings together EU ministers).
Paragraph 15 mentions pension reform well: "The planned reform of the pension system could help to reduce public debt in the medium term and thus reduce the risks to its sustainability," writes the Commission. The budgetary balance of the pension system is highly dependent on macroeconomic assumptions. According to the most recent annual report of the Pensions Guidance Council, retirement spending represented 13.8% of GDP in 2017; they should represent 13.5% in 2022, before evolving in a range between 11.6% and 14.4% by 2070, depending on the growth rate adopted for the evolution over time of GDP and employment. More than 40 pension plans coexist in France. They concern different categories of workers and operate according to their own rules. A bill, expected before the end of the year, should gradually standardize the rules of these plans, with a view to simplifying the operation of the pension system, in particular to improve its transparency, fairness and efficiency. "
- Does the Commission refer to pension reform since 2013 in its recommendations?
The Commission has raised the pension system every year since 2013, with the exception of 2017. It recognizes the changes taken by governments and makes recommendations on the system.
- Are these recommendations binding?
No. "These recommendations are advice," explains Pascal Kauffmann, professor of economics at the University of Bordeaux, specialist in European economy, to 20 Minutes . It is a bit like having an expert come to your house, who will go around your house and tell you where there are improvements to be made. You are free to follow his diagnosis or not. States have "the choice of means" for their budgetary policy, he adds. “If you don't reform pensions, you can introduce a tax on the highest income, for example. "
These recommendations, "legally, have no binding value, they do not have the force of law", develops Sylvain Kahn, professor at the Center of History of Sciences Po. States which do not follow them do not risk sanctions.
- Who writes these documents?
The Commission, but "it does nothing by itself," says Pascal Kauffmann. These documents are drawn up after several meetings between the ministers of the member states. During the writing, "the experts of the Commission normally work in good spirit with the States", specifies the researcher.
These recommendations have been published every year since 2010 and each member country receives its own recommendations. In addition to France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands have received recommendations on pensions.
- Has the Commission spoken on the reform?
Thierry Breton, commissioner in charge of the single market and digital, judged on December 9 the pension reform "necessary". This reform "is perceived as necessary taking into account the evolution" of life expectancy "and also of the absolute need to have balanced diets", he explained to the microphone of Europe 1.
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