France is in turmoil: Macron woke up the Yellow Vests movement with one reform

French President Emmanuel Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron.

A photo: REUTERS

Gradual increase in the retirement age from 62 to 65 is an election promise President of France. He had intended to implement pension reform during his first term in office, but postponed the unpopular measures with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Despite opposition from trade unions and French society, in his New Year’s address Macron stated that “2023 will be the year of pension reform.”

The retirement age in France is one of the lowest in Europe. The French can retire at age 62, but to receive a full pension they need to have worked for more than 40 years. Macron promised to reform the country’s pension system and bring it into line with the standards of European neighbors such as Spain and Germany, where the retirement age is between 65 and 67 years.

For the first time in 12 years, all the unions in the country opposed the proposed reform. The bill is being considered at a very difficult time for the government as households and businesses are hit by inflation and higher utility rates. “Politico”.

“The danger for Macron is that the country is in disarray and people feel it is the fault of the government. Inflation, small business problems, and now strikes, demonstrations, train cancellations will be added, ”said Bruno Jeanbart, vice president of the Opinion Way Opinion Research Center.

The debate in the lower house of the National Assembly will be heated, because both left and right also do not support Macron’s plans to reform the country’s pension system. Representatives of the National Rally, Invincible France and the New People’s Ecological and Social Union reject any increase in the retirement age and have already announced a protest.

The president of the Fifth Republic can take advantage of the special provisions of the constitution, which allow a law to be considered adopted if there is no vote of no confidence in the government from the parliament. By resorting to such a method of enforcing the law under the threat of the resignation of the entire cabinet, Macron will essentially put the fate of the government at stake. Political experts expect that the Yellow Vest protests, which rocked the country in 2018-19 due to Macron’s intention to raise fuel excises, could flare up with renewed vigor.

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