TRUE OR FAKE. Presidential: we verified six assertions of the candidates invited in the program “Elysée 2022”

Five days before the first round, the program “Elysée 2022” on France 2 received Tuesday April 5 Valérie Pécresse, Yannick Jadot, Eric Zemmour, Philippe Poutou and Anne Hidalgo. President-candidate Emmanuel Macron declined the invitation, citing “scheduling issues”. Franceinfo has verified six key statements from this evening.

1Is Anne Hidalgo right to say that the pension system is sustainable in the medium term? Rather true

“According to the reading of the COR report, there is no medium- and long-term sustainability problem for our pension system.”

Anne Hidalgo

in “Elysée 2022”

The report of Pensions Orientation Council (COR) rather agrees with Anne Hidalgo. To assess the sustainability of the system in the medium and long term, the COR observes the evolution of the share of pension expenditure in GDP. In 2020, these expenditures represented 14.7% of national wealth, “a particularly high level”, according to its latest report. However, from 2030 onwards, the expenditure share is expected to decline. Without further reform, “the system will be balanced by 2050”, confirms economist Eric Heyer to franceinfo. This trend may come as a surprise in the context of an aging population. But it is explained in particular by the increase in the effective retirement age under the effect of the decline in the age of entry into working life and the reforms already passed, such as the Touraine law of 2014, which will not be fully implemented until 2035.

2Do we have enough gas to last until next winter as Yannick Jadot maintains? It is more complicated than that

“We have gas and oil until next winter.”

Yannick Jadot

in “Elysée 2022”

The environmentalist candidate is a little optimistic. The specialists agree to assure that there will be no shortage of gas in France in the months to come, even if the Russian supply were completely stopped. This is explained by the stocks still available and France’s low dependence on Russian supplies.

However, the situation would become more complicated when the cold returns at the end of 2022. “If we don’t make an effort, it could go wrong next winter”, warned the president of the energy regulation commission (CRE), Jean-François Carenco, on Europe 1. In question, the filling of French stocks, planned for spring or summer, which would be more difficult, according to the Managing Director of Engie, Catherine MacGregor. Possible targeted supply cuts are even considered.

3 Is it true that 55% of non-European foreigners are inactive, as Eric Zemmour asserts? False

“55%: this is the rate of inactivity of non-European foreigners. The truth is that there are many more inactive and unemployed foreigners than inactive and unemployed French people.”

Eric Zemmour

in “Elysée 2022”

The number of the candidate “Reconquest!” is wrong. According to Eurostat data, there are 2,227,600 people living in France who were born in a country outside the European Union and who did not acquire one of the EU nationalities. Of these, 849,100 are inactive. This therefore corresponds to an inactivity rate of 38%, and not 55% as stated by Eric Zemmour. On average, in France, the inactivity rate is 29%.

The far-right candidate seems to be confused with the employment rate, which only takes into account people who have a job and not those who are looking for work, notes France Inter. This employment rate was 50% for the foreign-born in 2020, again according to Eurostat data. This confusion masks in particular the difficulties of access to employment for people of foreign origin.

4Did Emmanuel Macron cut hospital beds during the health crisis, as Philippe Poutou claims? True

“Macron put profits before health for five years, he even cut hospital beds during the health crisis.”

Philippe Poutou

in “Elysée 2022”

The NPA candidate is telling the truth. According to data from the Drees, attached to the Ministry of Health, more than 5,700 full hospital beds were closed in 2020. This drop, which is a little more marked than in previous years, can be explained “by the context of the epidemic”according to the Ministry of Health, with “many double rooms transformed into single rooms to limit contagion”.

The number of intensive care beds, which varied greatly according to the waves of Covid, on the other hand ended the year up by 14.5% (i.e. approximately 6,200). However, this did not prevent the underlying trend of the “ambulatory shift” from continuing: 1,369 “day” hospital places were opened in 2020, bringing their total number to 80,089.

5Are French teachers paid twice as much as in Germany and the Netherlands, as Anne Hidalgo claimed? Rather true

“The teachers are not paid enough. They are paid twice as much as in Germany and the Netherlands.”

Anne Hidalgo

in “Elysée 2022”

The latest OECD report on the subject partly proves the Socialist candidate right: we learn that a German secondary school teacher, for example in high school, begins his career around 66,548 euros gross, against 42,528 euros for a Dutchman and 31,937 euros for a Frenchman. The first therefore earns well over twice the Frenchman’s salary and the second earns 33% more. This gap persists, but tends to reduce over the course of the career, explain our colleagues from France Inter.

What about working time? French teachers work 900 hours a year against 691 for their counterparts across the Rhine. But the arrangement of working time is quite different. “German teachers spend more hours within the establishment while their French colleagues work outside the walls, devoting much more time to correcting copies”sums up Eric Charbonnier, an analyst at the OECD’s education directorate, Economic Alternatives. French teachers, however, have more holidays: they work 36 weeks a year compared to 46 in Germany.

6Has violence increased by 32% under Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term, as Valérie Pécresse asserts? It’s more complicated

“Violence has increased by 32% under Emmanuel Macron’s five-year term.”

Valerie Pécresse

in “Elysée 2022”

In her remarks, Valérie Pécresse seems to allude to the number of recorded facts of intentional blows and injuries. This type of crime has indeed increased by 31% between 2017 and 2021, according to data from the Ministry of the Interior. However, these figures should be viewed with caution. First, they are provisional: a consolidated version will be published in June, after the presidential election. Secondly, the calculation of these statistics has been temporarily disrupted by the reform of a crime observatory and the Covid-19 pandemic.

At last, “Crime figures are not a government report”, explained sociologist Sébastian Roché, a specialist in criminology and security issues, to franceinfo. He also recalled that there is no real assessment of police action in France, as is done in Canada, the United States or the United Kingdom. “We can describe trends but not link them to police policy”he concluded.

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