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French workers may have to retire at 64, and many are in a frenzy. Here’s Why | CNN


Improvisation protest broke out In Paris and several French cities on Thursday night, following a government move to force reform of the pension system that would raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Already controversial proposals to reform France’s cherished pension system How the bill was approved – President Emmanuel Macron’s party avoiding a vote in the lower house of parliament in a country that definitively lacks a full majority – which probably caused the most outrage.

And that anger is spreading in France.

Data from pollster IFOP show that 83% of young people (ages 18-24) and 78% of those 35 and older believe the government’s way of passing legislation is “unfair.” Even among pro-Macron voters who voted for Macron before he took a runoff against far-right opponents in the first round of last year’s presidential election, his majority, 58%, opposed the way the law was passed. Did. ideas for reform.

President Macron has made social reform, especially reform of the pension system, a mainstay of his 2022 re-election agenda, a theme he has supported throughout his tenure. But Thursday’s move sparked opposition across the political spectrum, so some question his hunger wisdom for reform.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne admitted in an interview with TF1 on Thursday night that the government had initially aimed to avoid using Article 49.3 of the constitution to block reforms passing through the National Assembly. A “co-decision” to do so was made in a meeting with the president, ministers and allied lawmakers mid-Thursday, she said.

For Macron’s cabinet, the simple answer to the government’s reform efforts is money. The government says the current system of relying on the working population to keep up with an increasing age group of retirees is no longer fit for purpose.

Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt said the pension deficit could reach more than $13 billion a year by 2027 unless urgent action is taken. Dusopt, citing those who oppose the reform, told CNN affiliate BFMTV: ?”

When the proposal was announced in January, the government said it would spend billions of dollars on measures to help reforms balance the deficit in 2030 and help people in physically demanding jobs retire early. Said the surplus would be paid.

For Budget Minister Gabriel Attal, the math is clear. “If you don’t do it [the reforms] Today we will have to take more brutal measures in the future,” he said in an interview with France Inter on Friday.

“Pension reform has never made the French happier,” Pascal Perrineau, a political scientist at the Pau University of Science, told CNN on Friday.

“Every time there is opposition from public opinion, the project will slip through and basically public opinion will accept it,” he said, noting that the government’s failure was its inability to sell the project to the French public. added.

They aren’t the first to fall for that hurdle. Pension reform has long been a thorny issue in France. In 1995, weeks of mass protests forced the then-government to abandon plans to reform the public pension system. In 2010, millions took to the streets to protest raising the retirement age by two years from her to his 62.

An anti-pension reform demonstrator writes

For many in France, the pension system, like social support more generally, is seen as a cornerstone of state responsibility and civic relations.

The post-World War II social system, in a country in which the state has played an active role in ensuring a certain standard of living, has been carefully guarded since then for state-funded pensions and health care. Guaranteed rights.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, France has the lowest retirement age among developed countries and spends nearly 14% of its economic output on pensions more than most other countries.

But amid mounting social discontent over the rising cost of living, the striking protesters have repeated a common slogan to CNN.

Macron, who was re-elected in 2022, is just entering his second term and still has four years left in his term as the country’s leader. Despite public outrage, his position is safe for now.

But Thursday’s use of Article 49.3 only reinforces past criticisms that he is far from public sentiment and at odds with the will of the French people.

Left- and far-right politicians in Macron’s centre-right parties were quick to jump on his government’s move to evade parliamentary votes.

Far-right politician Marine Le Pen said Thursday: “I think Elisabeth Borne should leave after the prime minister gave the French people a slap in the face and then forced reforms they didn’t want.” tweeted.

MPs from the left-wing coalition NUPES (New People's Union for Ecological Society) hold up placards as French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne addresses parliamentarians to confirm the enforceability of a pension law without a parliamentary vote on Thursday. increase.

French far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon also lashed out at the government, denouncing the reforms as having “no parliamentary legitimacy” and calling for a nationwide voluntary strike.

Indeed, public outrage over pension reform only complicates Macron’s intentions to introduce further reforms in the education and health sectors.

Perrineau warned that the current controversy could ultimately force Macron to negotiate more on future reforms, but noted that the French president is not known for compromise. ing.

Perrineau said he tends to be “a little arrogant, a little impatient”, which can make political negotiations difficult.

That’s “probably the limit of macronism,” he added.

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