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Macron's Pension Reform Approved, Protests Persist

On Friday, the Constitutional Council approved French President Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension reform. The legislation, which raises the full pension age from 62 to 64, will be swiftly signed into law and implemented.

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron

Nationwide Protests Continue

Despite the approval, the pension reform remains deeply unpopular, leading to massive protests recently. Demonstrators gathered outside Paris City Hall, signaling that the Council's decision will unlikely quell public anger.

Public Opinion Against Policy Changes

Opinion polls indicate that most of the population opposes the policy changes and the government's decision to push the bill through parliament without a final vote. Unionized workers and students call for people to take to the streets in protest.

Unions Request Law Delay

Unions urged Macron not to publish the law despite the Council's approval, stating that it would be the only way to soothe the nation's anger. However, officials dismissed the request, and Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt confirmed the law's enactment on September 1st.

Opposition and Unions Remain Defiant

Opposition and unions refuse to back down, with protests planned for International Workers' Day on May 1st. Hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon declared that the fight continues, while the Constitutional Council rejected an opposition proposal for a citizens' referendum on the pension reform.

Political Implications and Alternatives

Widespread discontent over the reform may have long-term political repercussions, including a potential boost for the far right. Far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged voters to support those who oppose the reform in the next election. Critics argue that alternative funding for the pension system can be found by taxing the wealthy more heavily.

French Retirement Age Statistics

Although the retirement age of 62 has been the focus, only 36% of French workers retire at that age. Another 36% already retire older due to requirements to pay into the system for 42 years. OECD figures from 2020 show that the average retirement age for French workers was 64.5, slightly above the European Union average of 64.3.