Raising the retirement age is law in France despite massive opposition

The publication of the new pension rules in the "Journal Officiel" means that the law has come into force.

Raising the retirement age is law in France despite massive opposition

The publication of the new pension rules in the "Journal Officiel" means that the law has come into force. The text in the Official Journal replaced the word "sixty-two" with "sixty-four" for the retirement age.

In addition to the higher retirement age, the Constitutional Council approved other key points of the reform, but rejected a number of side aspects. The council also rejected a request by the left-wing opposition for a referendum on the reform. In France, there are no appeals against decisions of the Constitutional Council. According to Macron's plans, the pension reform law should take effect in September.

The Elysée Palace said on Saturday that Macron would address the French in a speech on Monday evening. In the first year after his re-election as president, he is already under massive pressure as a result of the protests against the pension reform, and approval ratings for him are at the lowest level of his term of office.

Representatives of unions and opposition parties reacted angrily on Saturday to Macron's hasty signing of the reform after the green light from the Constitutional Council. The president is thus confirming his "gross contempt" for the population and especially the unions, said Sophie Binet, head of the CGT union, on the radio station France Info.

The trade unions for the employees of the railway company SNCF called in a joint statement for next Thursday for a "day of railroad anger". Union representatives had previously rejected an announcement by Macron that he was willing to engage in dialogue. They said they were not prepared to meet the government before May 1 - and called for an "extraordinary mobilization" for Labor Day.

The head of the left-wing populist party La France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, wrote on Twitter that Macron's rapid implementation of the reform after the decision of the Constitutional Council was an "absurd display of arrogance". Right-wing populist Marine Le Pen, who lost to Macron in two presidential elections, said on Friday that the "political fate" of the reform was "not yet sealed."

Government representatives, on the other hand, defended the rapid implementation of the reform. Macron's quick signing of the law is the "logical consequence" of the decision of the Constitutional Council, said the Minister for Relations with Parliament, Franck Riester. It is not in France's collective interest "to keep coming back to the same topic".

In the night of Saturday, following the decision of the Constitutional Council, renewed protests broke out in several cities. Hundreds of people gathered in Paris for unannounced protests. Bicycles, electric scooters and garbage cans were set on fire, according to journalists from the AFP news agency. The police reported 112 arrests by late Friday evening. In the western French city of Rennes, protesters set fire to the doors of a police station and a convention center.

The reform aims to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030. There are still exceptions for people who started their working life very early or who have particularly difficult jobs. In addition, the minimum pension will be raised to 1200 euros for a full contribution period. More than two thirds of the French reject the pension reform.