French President Emmanuel Macron is sticking to his controversial pension reform despite weeks of mass protests and strikes. "All in all, people know that we all have to work a little longer on average, otherwise we won't be able to finance our pensions well," said Macron today when visiting the Paris wholesale market.
His reform envisages raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 as the working population has to pay for a growing number of retirees. There must be exceptions for people who start working early or work in strenuous jobs, said Macron.
For weeks, Macron had not publicly responded to opposition to his reform plans, which drove hundreds of thousands to protest and led to a turbulent parliamentary debate. "It's with work that you build the strength of a nation and the ability to fund its welfare system, which is primarily about education and healthcare," Macron said on Tuesday. There is no alternative to the reform, because the population does not want to pay higher contributions or accept reductions in the amount of pensions.
The pension reform is considered one of Macron's central projects. The government wants to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. In addition, the number of payment years required for a full pension should increase more quickly. At the age of 67 there is then a pension without any deductions, regardless of how long it has been paid in - the government wants to keep this. She wants to increase the monthly minimum pension to around 1,200 euros. Many in France are already working longer than 62 years if they have not paid in long enough to receive a full pension when they reach retirement age.