Pension reform: French Labor Minister Dussopt weakened at a key moment


pensionsIn France, Minister Dussopt weakened at a key moment

The Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt finds himself weakened by suspicions of “favoritism” when he was mayor of Annonay. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne renewed her confidence in him in an interview to be published this Sunday in the JDD.


On the front line of the highly contested pension reform, the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt finds himself weakened by suspicions of “favoritism” when he was mayor of Annonay, a grievance he vigorously contested on Saturday, maintaining “confidence by Elisabeth Borne.

The minister, who led the pension consultations in the fall and must bring before Parliament the flagship reform of Emmanuel Macron’s second five-year term, is “a committed man, a solid minister and an elected official attached to his territory”, supports him. in the JDD the head of government. Thus, she says, “Olivier Dussopt has my full confidence” and “will defend our project in the Assembly” from Monday.

According to Mediapart’s revelations on Friday, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) has retained the offense of “favoritism” for a future trial against Olivier Dussopt, which will relate to a public contract concluded at the end of the 2000s with Saur group. The investigation had started with two lithographs by the painter Gérard Garouste which had been offered to him by a local Saur manager in 2017. He then returned the paintings.

A possible infraction of favoritism

“In May 2020, a press article believed it could question my relations with a water group in the town of Annonay, of which I was the mayor” and “the financial prosecutor’s office opened an investigation and carried out very numerous checks”, reported the minister on Saturday on France Inter. “At the end of this investigative work, the prosecution had grouped the facts into five points and I note that the explanations given with my lawyer convinced the prosecution of my good faith since on four of these five points, the prosecution decided that there was a need” to classify them, without “prosecution for corruption, taking of interest or enrichment”, he added.

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But “the prosecution considers that in the context of a procedure for public procurement in 2009 (…), there could be an offense of favoritism”, “a thesis which I dispute”, hammered Olivier Dussopt.

According to Mediapart, the search carried out at the minister’s premises by financial investigators from Oclciff (Central Office for the Fight against Financial and Tax Crimes) revealed “exchanges between Olivier Dussopt and (the Saur) seeming to leave little doubt about the existence of an arrangement around a public market dated 2009-2010”, when he was deputy and socialist mayor of this commune of Ardèche.

This case comes at the worst time for the government: the pension marathon starts in Parliament and two new days of mobilization are scheduled by the inter-union, next Tuesday and Saturday, against the decline in the retirement age from 62 to 64 years old . “No favoritism for France which works hard”, underlined the communist deputy Sébastien Jumel on Twitter.

“Borne has no choice”

Olivier Dussopt is “guilty” of having “favoured the most unfair responses, those which will penalize the greatest number of our fellow citizens”, supported the socialist Jérôme Guedj on France 2. Can he remain in office? Elisabeth Borne “does not have much choice because it would weaken this reform a little more”, according to this deputy. “This case disqualifies him from carrying out this reform”, for his part, his PS colleague Philippe Brun asserted on BFMTV.

On the contrary, on the presidential majority side, these revelations “managed to weld even more” around Olivier Dussopt, according to Marc Ferracci (Renaissance). “Faced with the manhunt, I prefer the hunt for ideas”, also argued Mathieu Lefèvre, in the same camp. At the heart of the government system, Mr. Dussopt is also at the helm, with the Minister of the Interior, on the immigration bill, and in the coming months at the forefront on a bill dedicated to full employment.

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He is not the only minister to find himself in turmoil in the midst of pension reform. Before him, Éric Woerth had been splashed by the Bettencourt affair in 2010, when the legal age was postponed from 60 to 62 years old – the ex-LR then obtained a release.

At the time of the reform project for Macron’s first five-year term, the High Commissioner for Pensions, Jean-Paul Delevoye, had resigned in December 2019 for not having declared several mandates to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP). He was sentenced in December 2021 to a four-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros.


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