The impact study of the pension reform bill unveiled this Friday continues to forecast a deficit of 0.3% of GDP by 2040. This shows that a pivotal age of 65 years at this horizon does not will not be sufficient to achieve financial equilibrium.

Edouard Philippe, this Friday at the end of the Council of Ministers.

We have not finished talking about the deficit of the pension system. From next Thursday, January 30, the financing conference will bring together the social partners in the hope of reaching compromise measures that would restore financial balance by 2027. But beyond this horizon , the government already foresees the persistence of a hole in the coffers, which could even last until 2050. This is what emerges from the impact study of the bill, presented this Friday in the Council of Ministers.

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In detail, the executive forecasts that after the return to financial equilibrium programmed for 2027, the deficit of the future “universal regime” should widen slightly to 0.2% of GDP around 2035, then 0.3%. in 2040, before gradually returning to equilibrium by 2050. These figures are based on the assumption that an equilibrium age of 65 – opening the right to liquidate one’s retirement without penalty – would be applied to the horizon 2037 for the first generation affected by the reform, that of people born in 1975. The impact study also predicts a slight positive impact of 0.1% on the State accounts from 2035.

Balance around 2050

These financial forecasts are better than those attached to the current system. This would show a deficit of 0.5% of GDP in 2027, a level at which it would stabilize until 2035 before reducing to 0.4% in 2040 then tending towards equilibrium in 2050. And again, this trajectory is based on the idea of ​​a continuation of the Touraine reform (which in 2014 had established an extension of the duration of contributions to 43 years) beyond 2037. Without any additional age measure, the current system would still be in the red at 0.3% of GDP at the end of the 2050s.

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Even if the balance is improved, the fact remains that the deficit problem will not have disappeared after 2027. “There will remain beyond 2027 tensions on the stability of the system, given demographic trends and macroeconomic scenarios”, we recognize in Matignon. However, the new system provides for the establishment of a “golden rule” for the future universal system: the accounts must necessarily be in balance over a period of five years, even if it means taking cost-saving measures to achieve this. .

Actions to be taken

In view of the figures, the future board of directors of the National Universal Retirement Fund will therefore potentially have measures to take to achieve this. It has several levers at its disposal: review the level of the equilibrium age (in which case the 65-year-old mentioned by the executive would only be a floor for the generations affected by the reform), review the level of bonuses / malus or that of the terms of indexation of pensions, review resources, etc.

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Regarding the budgetary equation, this impact study also puts into perspective one of the promises made by the government when the reform was launched. He had undertaken not to reduce the weight of pensions, to around 14% of GDP. In reality, this weight will decrease by 2050 in the same proportions as what would have happened without the reform, due to the end of the peak caused by the retirement of the “baby boomers”.

Spending currently close to 13.8% will decrease to 13.6% in 2025 then 13.5% in 2030 (against a stability of 13.8% without the reform) due to the savings measures promised with the conference of funding. They will then fall to 13.3% in 2040 then 12.9% in 2050 (13% without the reform). “It is the respect of the current expenditure trajectory”, argues Matignon, even if the oppositions could see the temptation to save money.