The man in charge of reforming the French pensions system — plans that have led to mass street protests — resigned Monday over his failure to declare additional income.
High Commissioner for Pensions Jean-Paul Delevoye had been under pressure in the wake of media reports that he hadn’t declared potential conflicts of interest and had close ties to the insurance sector. According to Le Parisien, Delevoye received a salary of €64,420 in 2018 and 2019 from a think tank called Parallaxe specialised in education policies even after he began working for the French government (he has since reimbursed the money, according to local media). He also had links to the French Federation of Insurers and the charitable arm of railway operator SNCF.
In a letter to President Emmanuel Macron, Delevoye said the trust he had built with the government, social partners and citizens had been “weakened” because of “violent attacks and confusing lies” against him.
Delevoye’s decision comes in the wake of massive nationwide strikes against the pension reform proposed by the government, which wants to scrap the current complex set-up of more than 42 industry-specific, state-funded pension plans, and replace it with a universal one based on a points system in which every French person would have their own pension “account” that could transfer from job to job.
The head of the far-left France Unbound, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, demanded on Twitter that “the proposed reform go away [together with Delevoye].”
Stanislas Guerini, an MP from the ruling La République En Marche, said on Twitter that Delevoye’s decision was “difficult and courageous” and thanked him for his work in leading the pensions reform.