Macron’s pension plan enacted into French law despite protests


PARIS (Reuters) French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 in France went into effect on Saturday, a day after France’s constitutional body approved the change.

The law came into force after being signed by President Macron and published in the Official Gazette of the French Republic. French government spokesman Olivier Véran said the approved changes would go into effect from September.

On Friday, the Constitutional Council rejected parts of the government’s pension law but approved a higher minimum retirement age that was central to President Macron’s plan and the focus of protests by his opponents.

The nine-member council’s decision resulted in months of tumultuous debate in parliament and frenzy on the streets. After the verdict, spontaneous demonstrations took place in Paris and across the country.

France’s main unions, which have been organizing nationwide protests since January 12 in hopes of stopping the plan, have vowed to continue fighting until the plan is withdrawn. He once again called for mass protests on May Day.

The government insisted he would have to work two more years before he was entitled to a pension in order to keep the pension system alive as the population ages. Opponents proposed instead raising taxes on the wealthy and employers, saying the change would threaten the hard-won social safety net.

Polls show that Macron’s approval ratings have fallen to their lowest level in four years. The centrist president, who has made raising the retirement age a priority in his second term, is scheduled to speak on national television on Monday night, Macron’s office said.

“The president’s comments are very much awaited,” said Veran, a government spokesman, who said the move aims to defuse domestic tensions and clarify decisions taken in recent months on pension reform.

Macron was first elected in 2017 and promised to make the French economy more competitive.

Since then, his government has made it easier to hire and fire workers, cut corporate taxes, and made it more difficult for the unemployed to claim benefits.

“A political solution is the only solution to the Syrian crisis,” the minister said, according to a Saudi foreign ministry statement on Saturday, emphasizing the importance of Arab leadership in efforts to end the crisis. The two leaders agreed to “establish the necessary mechanisms” and “conduct intensified consultations among Arab countries to ensure the success of these efforts.”

Ministers also condemned the recent attack by Israeli police on the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, stating that it “underlines the centrality and priority of the Palestinian cause and undermines the two-state solution.” It condemned the practice,” said the statement, a Palestinian sovereign state with its capital in East Jerusalem, based on its pre-1967 borders.

Also on Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad arrived in Algeria on an official visit to discuss “strengthening bilateral ties” and “coordinating positions between the two countries” on the “Arab and international arena,” Syrian state media said. reported. Algeria is one of the few Arab countries that has not cut ties with Syria during the conflict.