Jean Mischo, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), ruling on the controversial Podesta case has given his opinion that French regimes ARRCO and AGIRC do fall under the remit of article 119 of the Treaty of Rome concerning sexual equality.
The decision could open the floodgates for thousands of pension backpayment claims in France if, as expected, the ECJ ratifies the opinion following the normal period of deliberation.
ARRCO and AGIRC claim that as they are not professional retirement systems they should be not be covered by EU jurisprudence, but by national law.
However, Mischo points out that as the case comes under the criteria of work and equality EU law should apply.
Jean-Marie Podesta claims discrimination after he was refused the right to his wife’s pension following her death in May 1993.
Podesta was told he could claim the pension until legal male retirement age, but argues that had his wife lived she could have taken her pension at 50, the retirement age for women until 1990’s Barber European court ruling equalised pensionable age on the grounds of discrimination.