France’s pension reform chief resigns

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PARIS, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) — France’s High Commissioner for Pensions Jean-Paul Delevoye resigned on Monday after media reports criticized him for holding paid private sector positions without declaring them.

Delevoye has presented his resignation to President Emmanuel Macron, who accepted it “with regret”, said the Elysee, adding that Delevoye will be replaced “as soon as possible.”

The resignation came one day ahead of a national mobilization against the pension reform that Delevoye and his team had been negotiating with the social partners for months.

Last week, French media reported that Delevoye had failed to disclose several positions he held in the private sector – among others, he was an administrator at an insurance training institute – which brought accusations of a potential conflict of interest.

In a statement to French media, Delevoye said it was a mistake that he failed to declare those positions. He also said his credibility had been undermined by “violent attacks” by unions and opposition leaders seeking to discredit the pension system overhaul, which “is essential for France.”

France entered the 12th day of strikes on Monday. The unions planned to continue with the crippling transport strike during Christmas holidays, mounting pressure on the government to withdraw its pension reform plans.

The unions have announced a third day of mass protests for Tuesday, which is expected to attract tens of thousands of people from a range of professions to join the transport workers on the streets.

The government stands firm on its plans to replace the multi-regime pension system with a universal points-based system. The new system would scrap the special status for transport workers and would require people to work longer.

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