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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

France Intends to Cut Unemployment Benefits amid Debt Burden


Mon 27 May 2024 | 01:26 AM
Taarek Refaat

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal unveiled a plan to cut French unemployment benefits in an attempt to advance President Emmanuel Macron's economic reforms.

Attal indicated in an interview with La Tribune newspaper, published on Sunday, that the comprehensive reform will reduce the maximum period of social welfare to 15 months from 18 months, and will lengthen the period of work required to qualify for benefits. The government aims for the changes to take effect on December 1.

Attal said the changes were not a cost-saving measure, but aimed at attracting more French people into the workforce to fund the benefits system.

These measures come after France received a warning about its high debt burden from the International Monetary Fund, which called for greater efforts to control the budget deficit, while the country's financial supervisory authority declared that plans to do so lack credibility and coherence.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stressed that the government will do "whatever is necessary" to fulfill its pledge to reduce the budget deficit in line with the European Union limit of 3% of GDP in 2027.

Two weeks later, France votes in the European Parliament elections, where opinion polls indicate a victory by a large margin for the right-wing National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen, who is a staunch critic of Macron's reforms and is considered to be punishing workers.