Macron Promises to Raise Retirement Age, But Opponents Step Up Their Resistance to France's Pension Reform

Macron Promises to Raise Retirement Age, But Opponents Step Up Their Resistance to France's Pension Reform

In response to President Emmanuel Macron's planned pension changes, France prepared Monday for another day of widespread demonstrations and strikes. The administration and its left-wing opponents traded accusations for the anticipated unrest.

According to official data, on January 19, almost 1.1 million people demonstrated in the streets, which was the largest turnout since the last significant round of pension reform under right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.

Security forces were anticipating comparable sized numbers at 240 protests around the nation on Tuesday, according to a police source, in addition to widespread strikes that would disrupt transportation, education, and other services.

The strikes constitute a significant test for Macron as he strives to put into practice a centerpiece program of his second term in power, with unions predicting further stoppages.

In anticipation of what is anticipated to be a contentious and expensive stalemate if further strikes are called over the course of the next month, the president's ministers and their opponents are frantically attempting to shift public opinion.

Macron and his ministers were blamed by senior hard-left legislator Mathilde Panot of the France Unbowed (LFI) party for the strikes that would severely disrupt public transportation and other services.

She said that "they're the ones who want to wreak devastation on the nation" and referred to the weekend remarks made by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin as "provocation."

In support of "idleness and champagne socialism," Darmanin, a close supporter of Macron, said on Saturday that left-wing political groups were "just aiming to ruin up the nation."


The proposed change that would raise the minimum retirement age from its present level of 62 to 64, the lowest level in any major European economy, is the most divisive.

In April of last year, Macron included the move in his reelection platform. He continues to maintain that it is necessary to ensure the future funding of the pension system, which is anticipated to go into deficit in the coming years.

The system is now balanced, and according to the president of the independent Pensions Advisory Council, who recently testified before parliament, "pension expenditure is not out of control, it is generally controlled," the system is not unbalanced."

favoring business Macron, who has often urged French citizens to "work harder," "Failure to pass a major initiative, according to observers, would seriously damage his credibility for the balance of his second and last term in office.

As parliamentary committees began reviewing the proposed bill on Monday, the administration of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has indicated there is some wriggle space on certain elements.

Borne has argued that conditions should be made better for those who began working at an early age, for moms who took time off work to care for their children, and for those who engaged in higher education.

She said on Sunday that the 64-year-old upper age restriction is "non-negotiable" and that it is not up for debate."

The CFDT union's leader, Laurent Berger, said that the Borne "cannot stay deaf to this tremendous movement."

"Listen to this dissatisfaction, listen to this "He spoke with France 2 TV.

In an effort to avoid getting caught up in the daily discussion, Macron has made very few comments so far on the tensions.

Darmanin's intervention did not ease tensions; on Saturday, the tough-talking minister said that the left was promoting the concept of a "society without labor and effort." ".


Tuesday will see significant restrictions on the majority of Paris metro and suburban rail services, according to operator RATP, while just one high-speed TGV will operate for every three intercity trains, according to SNCF.

Air France said that one in ten short- and medium-distance flights would be canceled, while long-distance flights would not be impacted, making the impact on air travel less severe.

On international Thalys and Eurostar train services, just a minimal interruption is anticipated.

Along with confronting opposition on the streets, Macron and his supporters are also having problems in parliament.

To delay the proposed legislation's passage through parliament, the left-wing opposition has offered more than 7,000 changes.

To pass their pension proposal, Macron's centrist partners will require the support of conservatives since they do not have an absolute majority in parliament.

According to a fresh study by the OpinionWay research firm, which was released on Monday in the daily Les Echos, 61 percent of French citizens backed the protest movement, up 3.0 percentage points from January 12.

Darmanin said that 11,000 police officers, including 4,000 in Paris, would be stationed around France on Tuesday to guarantee that protests were orderly.