MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –
Source: Republic of France in French The French Republic has issued the following statement:
Speech by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of social security, October 8, 2020.
Only the pronouncement is authentic.
It is in very special circumstances that I speak to you today to celebrate the 75th anniversary of social security. It’s been almost a year since an unknown virus appeared halfway around the world. Since then, Europe and France have faced one of the most serious pandemics, perhaps, since the Spanish Flu. Faced with this crisis, we have been able, every French person, to see the strength and importance of our social system. This system, too, was born out of a major international crisis, World War II. From one crisis to the next, our social security system has been born, evolved, reformed and resisted.
Supported by the National Council of the Resistance and designed by the visionary minds of Pierre Laroque, Alexandre Parodi and Ambroise Crozat, social security very quickly became the cornerstone of our institutional structure. Today, it is the foundation on which the French social model is built. This model, forgive me the expression, has shown its power over other forms of society and protection systems. The French, whoever they are, have been among the best protected in the health crisis we are going through.
You can build all the health policies you want, if patients do not have the means to treat themselves, whatever their age, their income, their state of health, these measures become ineffective because they are, of fact, unequal.
This dreadful disease has come to remind us that our system is the right one.
With its 150,000 employees, to whom I want to pay tribute, social security has served as a bulwark to protect the sick and their families, but also society as a whole. Behind this rampart there were other women, other men, mobilized day and night in hospitals and in the liberal sector to fight against the epidemic. Honor be returned to them. Even today, we must stand by their side. We immediately drew major and historical consequences from this event, even before it was over.
This is the purpose of the Ségur de la Santé, which is not only an act of recognition, but also an act of will, a desire to ensure the attractiveness, strengthening and efficiency of our health system, which is more than ever one of the pillars of our social security. An effort of 9 billion euros, which is in part an upgrade, but which is unprecedented in its scale since 1945.
It should be remembered that social security has also demonstrated in this crisis other forces: during the last months and in a record time, the income of all has been guaranteed, the rights which were due have been extended so that a social crisis is not added to the health crisis. Social security has not only protected the sick and their families, but it has been a real economic and social shock absorber which, let’s put it bluntly here, has prevented the collapse of France.
Obviously, the security of 2020 is not that of 1945. And it is another strength of this institution to have been able to adapt continuously to structural changes in our society and our economy: evolution of the economy which went from the Thirty Glorious Years to a situation of endemic crisis and sluggish growth, with ups and downs since 1974; changes in the world of work where the emergence of mass unemployment has been combined with the decline in wage employment; evolution of our social structure, marked by the aging of the population, the transformations of the family unit and the conquests of women for the respect of their fundamental rights, in particular in the professional field.
As you know, the strong trend of this adaptation has led to the increasing universalization of our Social Security, both in its fields of intervention and in its funding methods.
If social security was created at the instigation of the state, it was not to be confused with it and it will never be confused with it. Thus, social risk coverage has not been nationalized but has been financed through a system of contributions obligatorily paid by employers and employees. It was not the state that covered the risk but a levy on wages and therefore on labor.
The universalization of social security has led the system to take its funding beyond just salaries, it has been necessary to make the choice to tax other sources of wealth. This was the essential object of the creation by Michel Rocard of the CSG (generalized social contribution). This development was obviously essential for the universalization of social coverage, but its corollary was the weakening of the role of the social partners. However, there can only be a real spirit of responsibility within the framework of governance that gives due room to economic and social actors.
The President of the Republic, since 2017 and in the months to come, wanted this great work to be consolidated and amplified. In the sense of equality, justice and responsibility, that is to say in fidelity to the founding principles laid down by the CNR.
This five-year period will be that of the creation of the fifth branch dedicated to the long-awaited autonomy and never achieved so far. The ordinances of 1945 sought to spare the poverty of older workers; Seventy-five years later we want to offer people with disabilities and older people and, throughout the country, the opportunity to choose their way of life to the end. The autonomy law, which will be debated next year, will determine the terms. Caregivers, whose role is set to become more and more important as our society ages, can, since October 1, benefit from compensated leave. Thus, they no longer have to choose between paying attention to their loved ones and their place at work.
Another major reform, that of universal retirement.
This concern for universality which already prevailed at the very creation of our system in 1945 must now find its complete realization in a universal and readable regime for all. From the outset, the Founding Fathers had hesitated to create a strictly egalitarian system, but at a time when the wage system largely dominated French society, they preferred to maintain the juxtaposition of different regimes. In a society that aspires to greater equality of real rights, and in which the wage earners no longer have the same economic and social weight, we must build this change. I know the concern this causes among certain categories of employees. As I made a commitment to the national representation, I would like the social partners to take their full place in this project initiated by my predecessor. We must also continue the commitment to social security in the service of emancipation. Seventy-five years ago, social security wanted to protect old age and motherhood. Today, society demands real equality. If it is on the mother that all the constraints related to a birth and then the custody of the children rest, until their compulsory schooling, where is it, real equality? It is also this requirement that social security must honor, and it is the meaning we wish to give to family policy; prevent accidents of life, and not just repair them.
Since October 1, women raising their children alone have been guaranteed their support payments through social security.
By extending paternity and childcare leave, and making it compulsory for 7 days, we are at the heart of this promise: that of better contributing to the development of the child, and that of further progress towards equality between women and men.
Social security makes real emancipation possible when it fulfills its redistributive function by giving more to those who have less. This is what we want with the creation of complementary solidarity health, which offers coverage that is simpler, broader and more accessible to all those with modest incomes, especially after retirement.
However, if the crisis we are going through has revealed the strength of our system, it has also come to destabilize it deeply. The pandemic has resulted in a deficit of over 40 billion euros in social security accounts. More than ten years of recovery efforts made by the country after the serious economic crisis of 2008 were thus wiped out in a few months by a virus.
The colossal financial investment that we have decided – to face the crisis itself but also, to compensate caregivers commensurate with the service they provide to France – I take full responsibility for it. They live up to the commitment made by the President of the Republic at the start of the epidemic. But I also share the concern of our fellow citizens who fear that the weight of this deficit will end up threatening the sustainability of the system.
We have an absolute obligation to ensure the economic soundness of our social protection system, so that our children, and their children after them, can in turn benefit from social security as protective as it is today. The creators of social security did not envision that it could be based on a debt left to future generations.
Indeed, it was the balance of accounts that prevailed until the end of the 1960s, until the oil shock and the economic crisis that followed.
It is obviously not about immediately absorbing the impact as sudden as it was brutal of the Covid crisis, because we could not. However, we must chart the course of responsibility, with the social partners, for a return to balance in our system.
We must also be demanding in the necessary modernization of our system and especially of its efficiency. It is a constant struggle, and I know the commitment of all those who bring social security to life on a daily basis. The system built by the Founding Fathers and carefully maintained by the generations that succeeded them is based above all on trust. To build this confidence, we must work for better use of the rights of all beneficiaries and firmly fight against the phenomena of fraud.
That everyone benefits from the just right. That no benefit is diverted. It is high standards and ethics that should guide us.
Today, unlike in its early days, the social security system no longer has ideological enemies and all French people, even the most liberal minds, have made it their own. Social Security is not only the object of a national consensus, it is consubstantial with the very idea that we have of the Social Contract. From now on, I must say it here, the only enemy of Social Security is the deep economic crisis. General de Gaulle himself said more than fifty years ago, the economy remains the very condition of social progress. Also, to restore the social security accounts, and we will restore them, I only know of two levers: work and the restoration of growth. This is the reason why we have drawn up a 100 billion euro stimulus plan which is aimed at both businesses and individuals but which was also thought out and wanted to support our social protection system. To my knowledge, there is no effective policy in which each part is not united with each other, that is what I wanted to tell you today, as part of this commemoration. Our policy is comprehensive. Social security is part of a whole, without detracting from its unique identity and, dare I say it, its sovereignty.
These prospects outlined by the President of the Republic are also a way for us to go beyond the horizon of this crisis to show the French that not only their social security system has held up, but that we are going to reform and improve it. This is the surest way to stay true to the teachings and legacy of our great ancients who led the way.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.