Top French legal adviser flags gaps in pension Bills

PARIS • France's supreme administrative jurisdiction has warned of gaps in the financial forecasts of President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform and said that it cannot guarantee the legal certainty of the Bills his Cabinet approved last Friday.

The criticism from the Council of State, which has an advisory role to the government, is a blow to Mr Macron as he attempts a systemic overhaul of the nation's pension system in the face of mass protests and strikes.

It may galvanise those opposed to the pension reform, which had been easing in recent days as the Paris public transport system returned to almost normal service and turnout at marches was lower than at the peak.

"I've never read such a negative study from the Council of State," Ms Valerie Rabault, leader of the socialist opposition at the National Assembly, said in a post on Twitter.

The council's overarching complaint is that it had insufficient time and "serenity" to guarantee the "legal security" of its examination of the pension Bills.

"This situation is all the more regrettable because the Bills lead to a reform of the pension system that is unprecedented since 1945 and aims to transform for decades to come a system that is a major component of the social contract," the council said.

Regarding the financial impact of the reform, the council had already warned the government that its studies were insufficient.

But an expanded investigation that the government submitted on Jan 15 "is still incomplete", it said, and more analysis is needed of how the pension reform could affect employment rates of senior workers and the unemployment welfare system.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2020, with the headline 'Top French legal adviser flags gaps in pension Bills'. Print Edition | Subscribe