This a battle which has been going on for months already. The French retirement age is 62, one of the lowest in Europe. Since January, President Macron and Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne have been saying they would push to increase the retirement age. to 64 or 65,
With one of the lowest retirement ages in the industrialized world, France also spends more than most other countries on pensions at nearly 14% of economic output, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development…
“The aim is to balance the accounts without raising taxes or cutting pensions. Various options are on the table, but all include raising the retirement age,” government spokesman Olivier Veran told journalists.
But balancing the accounts is never popular and especially not in France where street protests are an art form. Earlier this month there were nationwide strikes and “largely peaceful” protests of up to a million people.
All of that was prior to today when Prime Minister Borne announced the retirement age would rise to 64. Not only that but the change is being made under Macron’s special constitutional powers without a vote in the National Assembly,
French President Emmanuel Macron will trigger special constitutional powers to enact the proposed pension reform bill, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced Thursday in the National Assembly, which had not yet voted on the proposal.
“We cannot bet on the future of our pensions,” Borne said amid jeers and chants from lawmakers. “This reform is necessary.”
Labor leaders in France called for new demonstrations following Borne’s announcement, and a large crowd of peaceful protesters gathered in Paris’ Place de la Concorde.
“By resorting to [constitutional article] 49.3, the government demonstrates that it does not have a majority to approve the two-year postponement of the legal retirement age,” tweeted Laurent Berger, head of the CFDT, one of the unions leading the protests.
Here’s the scene where Borne made the announcement while some attempted to drown her out.
2 minutes 30 surrealists à l’Assemblée Nationale. Elisabeth Borne can not announce the 49.3, the deputies of all borders chant the Marseillaise, the deputies LFI brandissent une pancarte “64 ans c’est non”, d’autres lancent “demission”. #DirectAN #ReformeDesRetraites pic.twitter.com/VrXclIg7YA
— Hugo Capelli (@Hugo_Capelli) Mar 16, 2023
She eventually did make the announcement by shouting over the protests. It’s reminiscent of Stanford Law School.
FRANCE: Watch members of the gov whistle, heckle and walk off as Elisabeth Borne announces Article 49.3 to adopt Macron’s pension reform plan WITHOUT a vote in the French National Assembly. pic.twitter.com/vg9mT12J7k
— New World Odor™ (@hugh_mankind) Mar 16, 2023
In case you’re wondering, Article 49.3 is not some special power adopted during the pandemic, it’s a section of the French constitution which was adopted in 1958. Since then it has been used more than 90 times according to Wikipedia. It sounds like the Assembly could overrule this by voting for a motion of censure but that would also require the resignation of the government and apparently no motion of censure in response to an invocation of 49.3 has ever passed.
The Washington Post points to some of the reasons why this change is not extraordinary compared to France’s neighbors, even if the many don’t like it,
France has a lower minimum retirement age than many of its European neighbors, where laws similar to the one proposed by Macron have prompted less divisive debates. Germany, for instance, is preparing for an increase in the retirement age from 65 to 67, and lawmakers there have faced little public backlash.
This chart created by the Posts shows French retirees have the most years in retirement of any European country:
Despite all of this, protestors are outraged and are gathering in the streets.
🇫🇷 ALERT INFO – Tens of thousands of people headed to the Place de la Concorde #Paris suite à l’utilisation du 49-3: “Ça va péter!”. (via @ClementLanot, #grave16mars #reformedesretreats pic.twitter.com/8lc4aRZDaL
— Mediavenir (@Mediavenir) Mar 16, 2023
Fires are being lit and Macron, Borne and others are being burnt in effigy.
The French protesters are not messing around … Mannequins that look like Emmanuel Macron, Élisabeth Borne, Olivier Véran and Olivier Dussopt are burnt.
Remember the history with France and the guillotine?
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) Mar 16, 2023
Fire lit and people keep arriving in Paris as Macron forces through pension reform without a vote.
I predict a riot. pic.twitter.com/trEDbAugKR
— One Shot (@coconutfist12) Mar 16, 2023
This looks like the same spot a bit later.
NEW 🚨🇫🇷 | Thousands of people are protesting in Paris against President Macron’s reforms.pic.twitter.com/fTE24Pq6pC
— Trades Union Congress (@The_TUC) Mar 16, 2023
Police eventually arrived to move people out.
#Paristhe place of the #concorde Commence to be evacuated with charges. Use of decenserclement grenades. #ReformeDesRetraites#directAN#assembleenationale #dissolution#revolution2023 pic.twitter.com/X1JuGroOUv
— Jules Ravel (@JulesRavel1) Mar 16, 2023
But fires have been set elsewhere in the streets.
#france, #Paris is on fire again: pic.twitter.com/j8FMyjI89r
— The WannabeWonk (@PotempkinBrain) Mar 16, 2023
🚨🇫🇷ALERT INFO – The situation becomes more and more preoccupant in the streets of #Paris : a number of fires are reported. pic.twitter.com/IWPSTBc4Iw
— AlertesInfos (@AlertesInfos) Mar 16, 2023
This is probably just getting started. I’ll update this post later if I see anything significant.
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#France #raised #retirement #age #years #people #furious
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