Macron wants to enact pension reform by mid-2023

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President Emmanuel Macron aims to reform the French pension system by the summer of 2023, he told French media in his first long interview since being re-elected in April.

The reform, which initially aimed to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65, is key to funding Macron’s wider ambitions for his second five-year term. He discussed these plans in an interview with Le Parisien and French regional media.

Macron, who planned to reform the pension system in 2020, had to postpone the change when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The president has made the reform a key part of his re-election programme, although he softened it during the campaign to appeal to left-leaning voters in the run-off against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Macron also said he wanted to create an advisory council made up of representatives from the political, economic, social and associative sectors, as well as regional elected officials and French citizens drawn by lot. This body would work on the priorities that Macron set for his new term during the presidential campaign, including full employment and national carbon neutrality.

“This advice, which I will launch myself, will start right after the legislative elections,” Macron said. “It will be the body through which we will give life to our reforms… The first will relate to purchasing power”, which is eroding as inflation increases in France.

Macron, who says the French no longer want a top-down approach, did not specify what power that body would have or whether he could overrule any of his own policy preferences.

The president also spoke publicly for the first time about the violence after the Champions League final at the Stade de France near Paris last weekend.

Macron said he was “outraged” by the mess around the stadium and backed compensation for families who were unable to return to their seats. Macron promised an explanation to the UK, France and Spain, whose citizens attended the football match.

No risk of power failure

Macron said there would be no risk of power cuts next winter despite the shutdown of several nuclear reactors. The president, who said the European energy market is reliable, intends to accelerate investment in the country’s nuclear program and in renewable resources.

Macron has not ruled out visiting Ukraine, where he has not been since Russia’s military invasion in late February. He said he aimed to increase France’s financial and military aid to Ukraine.

The president, who said he spent around 100 hours talking with Russian President Vladimir Putin, defended France’s mediation efforts in the war. Yet he said he told Putin he had made a “fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history”.

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