Paris, 20 October 2010
I will see the pension reform through because my duty as Head of State is to guarantee the French that they and their children will be able to rely on their pensions and that pensions levels will be maintained.
I wanted this to be the fairest possible reform. So with the government I looked carefully at every proposal – especially those of employers and employees’ organizations – which allowed us to make progress on this path without endangering the balance of our pension system accounts. In this way, those who started work very young or have had physically gruelling jobs will still be able to retire at 60 or even earlier. There is specific provision for protecting the pensions of working mothers, and new higher taxes on capital gains and the highest earners will help pay for the reform.
It’s a difficult reform, and I, if anyone, should know. And it’s normal in a democracy for everyone to be able to express their concern or opposition. But some limits must not be overstepped and my duty is to guarantee respect for republican law and order for the benefit of all the French.
For millions of our fellow citizens, transport is a vital issue. It is a fundamental freedom. Over the past few days many French have seen their daily lives disrupted by supply problems which have affected a number of petrol stations. Yesterday I gave instructions to lift the blockade of all the fuel depots in order to restore a normal situation as soon as possible. The disorder resulting from the blockades is causing many injustices. First of all, for the majority of the French who wish to go on working and moving around freely. Secondly, if it is not ended rapidly, this disorder, designed to paralyse the country, could have consequences for jobs by damaging normal economic activity. Finally, let me add that this disorder is penalizing both the most vulnerable of the French and those with the responsibility of ensuring security and health services, in pursuit of the common good.
I appeal to everyone to act responsibly.