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French pension reforms: Macron signs controversial law

April 15, 2023

The law was published in France's official journal after the Constitutional Council endorsed key provisions in the reforms. The controversial increase in the age of retirement triggered months of nationwide protests.

Protesters hold placards depicting French President Emmanuel Macron during a demonstration against French government's pension reform, in Paris, France, April 13, 2023.
The controvertial reform plans have plunged Macron's popularityImage: Sarah Meyssonnier/REUTERS

French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a controversial pension reforms bill that raises the retirement age by two years, despite massive protests against it.

The text of the bill was published on Saturday in the official journal, France's official gazette, turning it into law. It raises the retirement age from 62 to 64.

The country's retirement system is among the most generous in the industrialized world. The retirement age in most other European countries is 65.

The nine-member Constitutional Council on Friday upheld the text. It ruled that the government's raising of the retirement age complied with the constitution.

It shot down, however, further measures it did not consider essential to the reform, such as a proposal for a referendum on the age issue put forth by Macron's opponents on the political left.

Macron's controversial brainchild

France has been rocked by general strikes and seen citizens engaged in pitched street battles with police as many aspects of daily life continue to be affected by protests and strikes.

Yet Macron, who also tried to pass the law during his first tenure, has said the plan is the only way to keep the country's pension fund from collapsing. He hopes to put it into action before the end of the year.

Opposition political parties have attempted to use the reform as yet another opportunity to frame the slick president as "out of touch" with the needs of French citizens.

Unions have called for nationwide protests on May 1, International Workers' Day.

Union leaders in France to continue protest actions: Lisa Louis from Paris

rmt/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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