The French Senate votes the draft social security budget and revives the controversy over pensions
The French Senate has approved the draft 2021 social security budget after adding a controversial article on pensions, with a deficit expected to reach 27.1 billion euros, according to the public accounts ministry.
Prior to the amendments in the Senate, the bill passed the National Assembly with 190 votes in favor, 106 votes against and 50 abstentions.
As France deals with the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, senators voted to increase overall health provisions.
Retirement age again
The Senate is dominated by a right-wing opposition and has reintroduced a proposal to increase the retirement age in order to balance the pension system.
It recommends both pushing back the legal retirement age to 63 in 2025 and extending the contribution period for those of the 1965 generation.
However, it remained to be seen if this provision would survive another reading, the leader of the LaREM in power in the National Assembly, Christophe Castaner, being opposed to the modification of the retirement age.
The Senate added to its health target by voting for an additional 800 million euros to cover Covid-19 diagnostic tests for 2020, increased resources for health companies dealing with it, as well as care services to the elderly.
An additional €150 million in 2021 and €200 million in 2022 will be allocated to increase the salaries of home helpers who take care of the elderly.
The Senate almost unanimously approved the extension of paternity leave from 14 days to 28 days from July 2021, while approving the creation of new birth centers.
He also narrowly endorsed mandatory third-party payment for abortion.
A “package” of 18 euros for people sent to the emergency room of a public hospital without admission was also voted.
A mixed commission of deputies and senators will meet to agree on a budget text, but if this is not achieved, will have to proceed to a new reading of the budget plan.