The French president admitted to “social anger” but argues that pension reform was essential.
French President Emmanuel Macron signed into law a pension reform that raises the retirement age from 62 to 64 and extends the time of work needed to receive a full pension to 43 years. The Constitutional Council ruled in favour of the measure on Friday, after Macron and his party had to force it through by issuing an executive order due to its widespread unpopularity, including among the country’s lawmakers. Massive social protests continue in the country as union leaders seek to increase pressure on Macron.
The president addressed the French people in a televised address on Monday, telling them that he is aware of the social anger caused by the pension reforms he has enacted, but insisted that “these changes were necessary” to guarantee pensions and avoid a deficit that would otherwise have to be paid for by new generations.
His words further disappointed his critics, especially the trade unions, because he did not backtrack on anything or make any new announcements, without any concessions. Protests with pots and pans have been organised in some cities. In Paris, Nantes and Rennes there have been spontaneous demonstrations, with the burning of street furniture and the intervention of special anti-riot forces.