Macron Signs Unpopular Pension Reform Into Law After Court Approval

Protests broke out immediately after the court approval with demonstrators and trade unions taking to streets demanding withdrawal of reforms.


French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday signed his pension reform into law, despite despite months of street protests and strikes. The legislation proposes to raise the minimum pension age from 62 to 64 and remains deeply unpopular with the French public.

The publication happened before dawn in France’s official journal, just hours after Macron’s flagship pension reform was approved by France’s highest constitutional court. This prompted accusations from the opposition that Macron was seeking to smuggle it through in the depth of the night.

The constitutional council, which was asked by the prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, to examine whether the pension proposals were in line with the constitution, struck down some lesser elements. These included measures designed to increase employment for older workers, which were rejected on the grounds that they did not belong in legislation that was tacked on to a social security budget bill.

The government had hoped the ruling would put an end to three months of protests, but police were on high alert for more demonstrations on Friday night. Hundreds of demonstrators marched from Paris city hall through the Marais area, with several bins set alight and firefighters tackling blazes

As reported by Guardian, Mathilde Panot of the radical left party La France Insoumise said the left was “more mobilised than ever” to stop the law. The Socialist party politician Olivier Faure said it was a “bad, unjust and illegitimate law”

Jordan Bardella, of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party, said the pensions row had shown the “vast gap” between Macron and the people.

After three months of protests, some of them violent, and clashes with police, the political crisis is not yet over. Trade unions and opposition politicians continued to urge the government to shelve the increase in the pension age to 64, with polls showing two-thirds of the French public oppose the measure.

French Communist Party chief Fabien Roussel tweeted, “A law enacted in the middle of the night, like thieves, May 1, 2023: everyone in the street.”

Reuters reported that protesters gathered outside Paris City Hall holding banners reading “climate of anger” and “no end to the strikes until the reform is withdrawn”, in a sign the Council’s verdict was unlikely to end widespread anger with Macron and his reform.

Some burnt trash bins as they marched through Paris, singing a chant popular with anti-Macron protesters: “We are here, we are here, even if Macron does not want it, we are here.”

Popular Pushback Against Pension Proposal rocks France


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June 2024


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