Macron proposes a controversial increase in the retirement age in France, after the approval of the Constitutional Council

A protester in front of the town hall in Paris, Friday, holding a miniature portrait of President Macron on her head, is accused of committing dictatorial acts.Image Getty Images

Step by step increasing the retirement age from 62 now to 64 in 2030 is the most important and most controversial pension reform measure. Opponents point out that workers are affected unevenly: the impact is particularly large for those who start working at an early age, often in heavy, low-paying jobs. There were still mass demonstrations against the plans on Thursday, the 12th National Day of Labor since the government announced the plans.

In France, the decision of the Constitutional Council, which had to assess whether retirement plans were in accordance with the constitution, was eagerly awaited. The council also rejected the left-wing parties’ proposal to hold a referendum on raising the retirement age.

The council’s ruling was the final step in the political process related to pension reform. Despite calls from trade unions and the opposition not to sign the law yet hard-won, official communications from the French government on Saturday morning showed Macron had finally enacted it.

About the author
Ellen Huismann is the France correspondent for V.I De Volkskrant. She lives in Paris.

Although the President and his government had hoped that the Council’s rule would reduce resistance, this does not seem to have been the case at all. Unions are calling for another large-scale work day on May 1, Labor Day. Until then, they refuse to talk. Earlier this week, Macron called on unions to try to broker talks.

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The political opposition does not seem to accept the decision either. “The battle will continue,” Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the radical left-wing La France Insoumise party, one of the largest opposition parties in parliament, promised.

Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Rally said in response to the Constitutional Council on Friday evening that the pension reform “has not yet been sealed”.

The procedures were also repealed from the pension law

Not all parts of the Pensions Act have been approved by the Board. Among other things, the big indicator, which will oblige companies with more than a thousand employees to publish the number of elderly people they employ, does not include reforming the pension system, according to the council. Therefore, this procedure has been omitted.

On Friday evening, more than three thousand demonstrators gathered in front of the Town Hall in Paris. The measures were also announced on Friday evening in another one hundred and thirty places in France.

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