The pension reform arrives at the Assembly: what to expect in the coming weeks?

The pension reform arrives at the Assembly: what to expect in the coming weeks?

The deputies will examine the ordinary bill establishing a universal system of point-based pensions. While the majority has set a tight schedule, the opposition is already planning to wage a battle with amendments.

The National Assembly, in Paris.  (THIERRY THOREL / NURPHOTO / AFP)

This time, the pension reform project gets to the heart of the matter. The text arrives in session at the National Assembly, Monday, February 17, for a review that promises to be long and tedious. Overwhelmed by 22,000 amendments, the special committee had already failed to complete its work. This time around, over 40,000 amendments have already been tabled. Franceinfo summarizes the schedule for the coming weeks.

MPs have 65 items to consider

Before examining the organic aspect of the text, which provides for the financial framework of the reform, the deputies will first examine the 65 articles of the ordinary bill. This defines the future universal points system and the transition from one regime to another. Unprecedented fact, the special commission on pensions responsible for working on the text was not able to complete its work. After 75 hours of dialogue of the deaf, only 5,000 amendments were examined out of the 22,000 tabled in total, notably by La France insoumise.

As provided for in article 42 of the Constitution, it is therefore the initial version of the government which is examined by the deputies from Monday. Thus, the 21 amendments adopted in committee will have to be put to the vote again, such as the increase in teachers’ salaries, a reduction in contributions for independent professions or an increase in points for parents who have brought up disabled children.

Fifteen days of debate in the Assembly are planned

The text is subject to an accelerated procedure, which means that there will be only one reading in each of the chambers of Parliament, in the Assembly and then in the Senate. Fifteen days of debates are already planned at the Palais Bourbon – that is to say 84 hours – but given the scale of the task, a third week could be necessary to carry out the examination of the text. The “Shooting is never sure”, recognized the President of the Assembly Richard Ferrand (LREM).

The government, represented by Secretary of State Laurent Pietraszewski and new Minister Olivier Véran, is still counting on adoption at first reading before the municipal elections in a month, but the deadlines may be difficult to meet.“I believe that the calendar in which we are locked is not tenable”, for example declared the president of Medef, Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux. Despite these questions, the majority still hope that the final green light for the project will be given. “By summer” on both texts (ordinary and organic).

The text should then be examined in the Senate after the municipal elections, at the end of April or the beginning of May.

The government will resort to ordinances

In order to implement its program, the government should have recourse to around thirty ordinances, taken in the Council of Ministers and signed by Emmanuel Macron. These acts allow the government to bypass the parliamentary debate on some technical or specific points, such as the modalities of the transition between the basic and complementary regimes and the future common regime.

But these announced ordinances make the opposition react. The Council of State itself says that the text is incomplete, with 29 ordinances, reacted Alexis Corbière, deputy of La France insoumise. I have a high opinion of what an MP is, and we are asked to vote blind. ” Already questioned in this regard, the Secretary of State in charge of pensions, Laurent Pietraszewski, had declared that “Ordinances are the opportunity to debate twice in this Chamber, once in the context of authorizations and once in the context of ratifications”.

The left intends to oppose the text

The three left-wing groups – PS, PCF and LFI – denounce a “Guilty amateurism” of the government and multiplied the amendments (nearly 37,000 between them) in an attempt to slow down the examination of the text. They are also considering tabling a referendum motion or even a motion of censure, which could slow down the debates. This reading, carried out at a run, is a “The majority’s real desire to force its way through with an accelerated procedure” engaged by the government on January 24, deplores for his part Pierre Dharréville, Communist deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône interviewed by franceinfo.

>> “We will be in a very offensive attitude”: how the left intends to oppose the pension reform in the National Assembly

The Socialist Party, for its part, has already used its “drawing rights” to request the implementation of a commission of inquiry into the impact study. The obstruction unfortunately continues. I repeat: it is a deviation ”, deplored Marc Fesneau, Minister of Relations with Parliament, in an interview with Echos

The government will not use article 49-3

Majority officials insist that recourse to 49-3 – weapon of the Constitution which allows adoption without a vote – “Is not the goal”. Some “Walkers”, however, do not exclude this hypothesis if the debate is “Clearly impossible”. In order to dispel any misunderstanding, Secretary of State Laurent Pietraszweski himself repeated on France Inter that there would be no “No 49-3 on this subject”. It must be said that such ground is slippery for the majority. A recourse to 49-3 is judged “Totally unthinkable” by the elected representatives of the Republicans party and it would even be “Delirium” for the number one of the CFDT Laurent Berger, questioned on this subject on Radio Classique.

Fundraising conference continues

The vote on this reform is scheduled before the conclusions of the “conference on the balance and financing of pensions”. Faced with opposition from the unions, the government had withdrawn from the project the mention of an equilibrium age at 64 – at this stage, the text maintains the legal retirement age at 62. But an increase in the threshold is not excluded, since the fundraising conference resumes its work on Tuesday, February 18. The role of the social partners and the employers is to find measures to ensure the financial equilibrium of the future system by 2027. Unlike the deputies, the senators will be aware of this work during the examination of the project because the conclusions of the conference are expected at the end of April.