French Prime Minister Jean Castex is calling for a more equitable and fairer retirement system through the creation of a universal plan that would support women and low-income workers.
The damage created by the coronavirus crisis has led to a social security deficit in the country's budget. That deficit will exceed €50 billion ($56.5 billion) in 2020, according to the translation of a transcript of a Wednesday speech by Mr. Castex to the French National Assembly, published on the government’s website.
“This is obviously considerable, but we have to make allowance for (it),” he said.
Mr. Castex said the deficit was due to “a cyclical deterioration linked to exceptional circumstances of the crisis.” The deficit should not weigh on the country’s social security coverage and “will therefore be financed in the framework of ‘COVID debt.’” Further budget discussions will be held by the government, employers and unions next week.
France had planned reforms for its retirement system this year, including raising the retirement age to 64 from 62. The overhaul was halted in March, following the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe.
Mr. Castex noted in his speech that the new retirement provisions have created confusion among stakeholders.
“I will therefore suggest to the social partners and parliamentarians that (consultation) be resumed in order to improve the content and the readability of this necessary reform, by distinguishing it very clearly from any financial measure,” he said.