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France strikes: Has Emmanuel Macron gotten rid of the generous presidential pension?

A demonstrator holds a poster mocking French President Emmanuel Macron next to burning garbage cans in Paris
A demonstrator holds a poster mocking French President Emmanuel Macron next to burning garbage cans in Paris Copyright Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023
Copyright Christophe Ena/Copyright 2023
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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In December 2019, the Elysée announced that it would put a stop to the special retirement system for future presidents. But so far, nothing concrete has been implemented.

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Thursday marked the 11th day of strikes across France against President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan.

The protests come amid a deadlock in discussions between unions and the government. But Macron’s supporters were quick to defend the French leader.

Recently, Stephane Vojetta, an MP for French citizens living abroad and part of Macron’s Renaissance party, tweeted a graphic published in the business magazine Capital. 

The illustration compares the pensions of the past three French presidents: Emmanuel Macron, François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

It explains Nicolas Sarkozy who was head of state between 2007 and 2012 receives €11,400 net per month.

Francois Hollande, president between 2012 and 2017 receives €15,000 per month after tax.

But the magazine explains Emmanuel Macron has in advance renounced the presidential pension and that he hasn’t held any other political mandates. 

A promise made in 2019

In 2019, Macron wanted to reform the pension plan towards a points-based system but halted the reform due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

His entourage told the French newspaper Le Parisien that the Head of State will give up his very generous presidential retirement plan. 

Former French presidents receive approximately €5,200 net per month for their pension. 

They are also guaranteed housing, their travel and hospitality expenses are paid for as well as their security and administrative teams.

Moreover, there's no minimum age requirement as is the case of other French employees. 

As a reminder, Macron wants to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 - but that’s not the full pension rate. Most French people receive the full rate at 67 years. 

Most ex-presidents receive more than €5,200 a month because all the pensions for their other paid political mandates are added on top of that.

For example, if before becoming president, they were also an MP and a mayor, the pensions for these two positions are also added.

This explains why the previous presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy have higher retirement rates. 

But the issue is that more than three years after Emmanuel Macron’s promise of getting rid of the special presidential pension, nothing concrete has been done.

The French business newspaper L’Opinion reminds us that no measure in the new pension reform plan mentions the Head of State’s retirement system.

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Macron’s promise of getting rid of the presidential pension remains… still only a promise.

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