France: Macron Overrides Parliament, Passes Pension Reform
On Thursday, French Pres. Emmanuel Macron — invoking Article 49.3 — sidestepped a lower house of parliament vote on his controversial pension reform plan, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64....
- On Thursday, French Pres. Emmanuel Macron — invoking Article 49.3 — sidestepped a lower house of parliament vote on his controversial pension reform plan, raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.1
- The decision was met with widespread protests across the nation, with French police allegedly using batons, tear gas, and water cannons to clear thousands of demonstrators in Paris’s Place de la Concorde Thursday night.2
- At least 310 people were reportedly detained across France, with Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin revealing 258 arrests were made in Paris on Thursday night. Although the streets were calm Friday, government ministers are still on alert.3
- Strikes have also gained steam in opposition to Macron’s pension plan across many industries, with bin collectors’ continuing their strike in Paris and the workers in the energy sector voting to halt production at one of the nation's largest refineries.4
- Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers filed a motion of no-confidence in the government, hoping to repeal the unpopular retirement age hike.5
- The reform would also deny a full pension to a retiree at 64 who hadn't worked for 43 years, in which case, the retiree would have to wait until 67 to receive a full pension. Macron maintains that the plan is central to making the French economy competitive amid economic challenges across Western Europe.6
Sources: 1Newsweek, 2Al Jazeera, 3CNN, 4Guardian, 5The local france and 6Associated Press.
- Narrative A, as provided by The american prospect. The French people are reigniting a centuries-old spirit as they fight back against autocratic ruler Emmanuel Macron. While he incessantly purports to be a proponent of democracy, Macron took matters into his own hands by raising France's retirement age. Not only did Macron abuse his power by sidestepping a parliamentary vote, but he also subverted the will of the French people in a complete slap in the face to democracy.
- Narrative B, as provided by Marketwatch. While controversial, leaders must make difficult and unpopular decisions for the long-term betterment of society, and Emmanuel Macron did just that in his efforts to save France’s pension problem. France’s demographics make it nearly impossible to maintain the status quo as the ratio of workers to retirees shows insolvency in the near future. Macron made a tough political decision, but it will pay off.