Pension reform in France: "The Macron method has failed"

After the pension reform was pushed through in France without the final approval of parliament, what is probably President Emmanuel Macron's most important project is not yet completely sealed.

Pension reform in France: "The Macron method has failed"

After the pension reform was pushed through in France without the final approval of parliament, what is probably President Emmanuel Macron's most important project is not yet completely sealed. No-confidence motions against the government by the opposition are expected by Friday. This had pushed through the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64 on Thursday at the last minute with the help of a special article in the constitution without a vote. She wasn't sure of a majority in the National Assembly. Although the conservative Républicains had initially signaled support for the president's center camp, this then crumbled.

Media in France and its neighboring countries comment on the pension reform:

La Liberation: "(French President) Emmanuel Macron broke open all the eggs he had in the fridge, but he didn't manage to make an omelet. (...) All this, after weeks of statements to the contrary, to end the shameful to pull out Article 49.3 to prevent a vote he was about to lose. (...) Does he really believe that the markets are just waiting for his reform? (...) What the markets hate most (. ..) is instability. And his ill-conceived pensions reform is driving France, its democracy and its workers directly into this instability. The President could save the day by announcing that the law will be repealed after its undemocratic passage. But it's not his way of listening to the French."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "Even more worrying than the political failure are the 'financial and economic risks' that the Elysée Palace cited to justify the shortened parliamentary voting process. President Macron has so far reassured his compatriots that state finances are solid There were hardly any appeals for savings, and there was never a debate about the high level of debt during the presidential election campaign.Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had announced an end to the 'whatever the cost' attitude, but Macron gave the impression that he don't believe in it themselves.

It is therefore surprising that Macron used Article 49.3 of the Constitution to thwart an impending defeat on pension reform in order to avert financial risks. With this line of argument, the Elysée Palace has torn away the veil over the debt spiral for the first time. The pension reform is associated with the hope of savings of up to 17 billion euros a year. But the warning about the "financial risks" comes too late to calm the country's anger. The Macron method has failed."

Reutlinger General-Anzeiger: "But Macron only achieved a sham victory. Because the last word has not yet been spoken on the pension reform. Macron's government must expect a vote of no confidence. But the loss of confidence that the president has inflicted on himself weighs even more heavily Pushing through social reform that is so important and controversial without real political legitimacy is a fatal mistake. It will lead to the opponents uniting and paralyzing France. Macron has plunged his country into crisis and its image as a pragmatist and innovator of a deadlocked political system permanently damaged."

Der Spiegel: "But part of a democracy is accepting defeat and struggling to achieve compromises. This government currently seems incapable of both. No external circumstance forced Macron to carry out the reform in this inflation and war winter of all times. The hole in the pension fund was not large enough to require immediate action, so why not take time until the summer to negotiate with the unions, with whom a broader, more ambitious reform than the current one could be drafted?

Of course, pension reform is urgently needed. And reasonable." "And so in the end it is the French democracy itself - the presidential democracy - that stands out as the loser. You can't govern a people that is so belligerent, happy to go on strike, and steeped in the romanticism of revolution, with a constitution that allows votes to be overturned. It works not good in the long run."

Volksstimme (Magdeburg): "Emmanuel Macron wanted to put out the fire surrounding the French pension reform . But he's fanning it up again by pushing the law through the National Assembly without a vote. That's not forbidden in France, but it takes away the parliamentary part of the law Legitimacy. Macron had to fear for the approval of the Republicans for his favorite project, hence the security variant. Such an edict is contestable. Through a vote of no confidence that could bring down the entire government at once. That opens the floodgates for speculation and demonstrations. The blessing The reform should create stability and put an end to turbulent weeks in France. Now things should really get down to business. On the streets, where new mass protests could sink the law. No less in politics: Macron's numerous opponents will leave no stone unturned, the President to fall."

The Times: "Emmanuel Macron showed considerable political courage when he pushed through the law raising the retirement age to 64. After a failed attempt to gain parliamentary support, the French President waived a vote and opted for a decree . In view of its political isolation on this explosive issue, this is a courageous - some would say foolhardy - step. But it was a challenge that had to be mastered. France can no longer afford its luxurious pension system. (...)

Meanwhile, right-wing politician Marine Le Pen took advantage of the unease about the president and announced a vote of no confidence. Macron has to get through this. France is sometimes seen as irreformable. The pension reform law was variously criticized as "inhumane" and "brutal". Nothing of the sort applies. As times change, France must change with them."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "The application of article 49.3 of the constitution is completely legal. However, passing the law without a vote in the grand chamber weakens the acceptance of the reform. The project has been extremely unpopular with the population from the start. And the trade unions have already announced it "To continue to demonstrate. With increasing riots at protests must be expected. At best, the reform could still be prevented: if a motion of no confidence is made against the government and it gets through.

The former will definitely be attempted, the latter will most likely fail. Still, the government is weakened and the pension reform, though passed, is a defeat for them. With the reform, the retirement age will gradually rise from 62 to 64 by 2030. The contribution period is extended to 43 years. And most special pension regimes will be abolished. That's good. Reform was urgently needed."

Other sources: "NZZ", "Der Spiegel", "", "The Times".