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  • Leopold Huber

Pension Protests Rock France

In January of this year, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced a new pension plan. It would gradually increase the retirement age by two years and the minimum time people are required to work to receive full pension support of 1,400 euros by one year. It would also encourage private pensions. Macron has said that the law is necessary as the pension system might run a deficit in the following years, though this has been heavily disputed. Following this announcement, Macron proceeded to force the issue without a vote in any parts of the government, by using article 49.3 of the French constitution, as the plan had low support. Following this, Macron’s government faced a no confidence vote (which is a vote about whether a person is still deemed fit to hold a position of power). 278 out of the 287 politicians required have voted in favor of re-shaping Macron’s government. But the vote would not affect Macron himself, only his cabinet. Since the vote, Macron’s approval rating has fallen from 36% to 30%.

But this decision has caused protests all over France, especially in its capital, Paris. Many people are participating, but the estimated number of protesters ranges from 1.1 to 3.5 million. In addition, the labor unions have strongly opposed the pension reform and have called strikes all over France, effectively shutting down the country. So far around three-hundred protesters have been arrested and hundreds have been severely injured. The protests are ongoing, and the future of French politics is still uncertain.

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