The Conseil d'orientation des retraites ("Pensions Advisory Council") was created in the year 2000
. It is a permanent body which brings together members of Parliament, representatives of the social partners, experts, and representatives of the State. Its main purposes are to monitor the French retirement system and to put forward recommendations for public policy concerning retirement, on the basis of expertise and consultation with all the partners involved.
The law of 21 August 2003 reformed the French retirement system. Article 6
of that law broadened the responsibilities of the Pensions Advisory Council and a decree of 28 May 2004
laid out the composition
of the Council's membership.
The Council members decide on their work methods, their program
and agenda. Since its creation, particularly constant work was undertaken by the Council, with several strong times : handing-over of reports
to the Prime Minister ; organization of conferences
; publication of documents for the debate
. I - The Council's Mandate
The Pensions Advisory Council is an independent body. It reports to the Prime Minister. It brings together representatives of a broad range of organizations and government agencies.
The Council is made up of thirty-nine members
. Work is carried out under the leadership of the Chairperson, Mr. Raphaël Hadas-Lebel, a member of the Council of State (Conseil d'Etat). Members are elected officials, representatives of employers' organisations and the self-employed, representatives of employees from both the private and public sectors, representatives of families and the elderly, the directors of the government authorities most directly concerned with retirement policy, together with experts chosen for their experience and competence.
The law of 21 August 2003
broadened the Council's original mandate of 2000
. The Council now has the following responsibilities :
· monitor current changes in legally obligatory retirement schemes as well the medium and long term outlook for these schemes, with respect to economic, social and demographic trends ;
· assess the requirements for ensuring the long-term financial viability of legally obligatory retirement schemes ;
· analyse the financing of such schemes and monitor trends in their financing ;
· formulate opinions on future decisions, as stipulated in the law of 21 August 2003 (article 5, sections III and IV), which states that increases in the number of quarters of insurance required to qualify for a full pension will be considered in 2008, 2012, and 2016, and that the Council is to be consulted prior to decisions ;
· disseminate information on the retirement system and on the effects of reforms undertaken in order to guarantee its financing ;
· monitor respect for the principles that underlie the retirement system and monitor the living standards of retirees relative to the working population, as well as other indicators of trends in retirement schemes, including replacement rates.
The Council must submit a report to the Prime Minister at least every two years. These reports are distributed to the Parliament and made available to the public.
The Council has its own General Secretariat, with a small team of experts. Official authorities and public institutions are legally required to disclose information to the Secretariat as requested. II - How the Council works
The members of the Pensions Advisory Council decide on how they will carry out their responsibilities. At every step of its work, the Council relies on consultation and cross-disciplinary expertise. Meetings -
The Council holds plenary meetings
at regular intervals. Background documents are sent to members prior to the meetings. These documents are made public following each plenary meeting in the form of working papers ; most are posted on the Website. Dissemination -
Public dissemination of information and ideas is a major priority for the Council. The reports
prepared for the Government are published and widely circulated. The Council also holds public conferences
. It also produces and disseminates educational documents aimed at a wide audience (Documents pour le débat)
. Cooperation -
The Council works closely with public administrations and other organizations involved in running the French retirement system (retirement schemes, the Caisse des dépôts et consignations, etc.). Such cooperation is essential in obtaining the information the Council needs to fulfil its role. Expertise -
The Council calls on expertise from within its own ranks and from outside. When necessary, it commissions studies
addressing specific topics on its agenda.