report presented on 6 april, the French Senate wants to initiate a social
debate on a reorientation of social security and employment policy. Regarding
climate change and increased environmental risks, which also affect social
insurance, the Senate wants to initiate a social debate on a reorientation of
social insurance and employment policy with the submitted report.
is to enable the various branches of social insurance to cope with the social
and health consequences of climate change. The Senate worked out 48 proposals
for this, which are assigned to four fields of action.
1. Development of long-term strategies
to the Senate, the focus of French health policy to date has been on curing diseases.
By contrast, only three per cent of the budget is spent on prevention. On the
other hand, measures for healthy lifestyles, prevention, occupational health
and early rehabilitation must become significantly more important in order to
better protect individuals in the future. The goal must be to reduce health
risks at an early stage and to maintain long-term employability.
1. Realignment of social security financing - establishment of an environmental fund?
view of the Senate, the demands of climate change on sustainable economic
activity and the need to protect natural resources call into question the dogma
of steady economic growth. This also affects the revenue side of social
security. By contrast, the expenditure side faces additional challenges. Due to
climate change, social security must absorb additional risks. In addition,
there is a need for supplementary social compensation for particularly affected
low-income households. Additional financial resources must be made available
for this purpose. In order to ensure the financial sustainability of social
security in the long term under these conditions, the Senate is introducing the
creation of an environmental fund - Climate Social Fund - analogous to the one envisaged at the EU
establishment of a separate social insurance strand to manage the resources of
such an environmental fund was also discussed. The background to this
consideration is to ensure that the additional funds are used selectively for
the additional social challenges triggered by climate change, and that this can
be transparently understood by citizens.
3. Anticipating changes in the world of work and integrating them into the system
change will lead to significant changes in the labour market. Industries and
associated professions will lose importance or disappear altogether. Other
industries will expand and new professions will emerge. The Senate estimates
that this will affect 3.8 million workers in France. They must be given
comprehensive support as well as retraining and advanced training
opportunities. Together with the social partners, it is important to develop
new forms of employment adapted to climatic changes.
4. Right to healthy food
has a significant impact on health. At the same time, there is a pronounced
social gradient in healthy eating. Therefore, the Senate considers significant
effort necessary to increase consumer awareness as well as to allow low-income
households enjoy a high-quality diet. In addition, farms should be fairly
remunerated for high-quality products.
election campaigns for the office of President of the French Republic and for
the French National Assembly have shown that reforms of the various branches of
social security will be a central issue in the next legislative period. With
this report, the Senate has broadened the focus to include the long-term
challenges associated with climate change.
find the French Senate’s report here.