London Review of Books (LRB) – May 4, 2023 issue: French President Emmanuel Macron and the Pension Crisis, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Big Con’ and more.
Macron v. Millions – The pensions crisis in France
Pensions – and ‘the fiscal impact of ageing’ – have long troubled the EU. A European Commission paper published in 2016 noted with relief that ‘most EU member states’ were reforming their pension systems. France is one of them. During his first term in office Emmanuel Macron envisaged an ambitious reform plan, but Covid-19 put paid to it. Re-elected in 2022, he put a different plan on the table; at its core is an increase in the retirement age from 62 to 64. It has been predictably unpopular. Pensions rank high on the list of French state expenditures. They are one of the cornerstones in France’s edifice of public provision, which is why the sound of drilling and hammering sets most citizens’ teeth on edge.