After bypassing Parliament, Macron wants French retirement age raised by end of year

FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his speech during the National Roundtable on Diplomacy at the foreign ministry in Paris, Thursday, March 16, 2023. President Macron will explain how he will seek to overcome tensions prompted by his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Macron will appear on national television on Wednesday, March 23, 3034 for the first time since his government forced through the bill age amid mass protests. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

(Michel Euler / Associated Press)

After bypassing Parliament, Macron wants French retirement age raised by end of year

March 22, 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that the pension bill that he pushed through without a vote in parliament needs to be implemented by the “end of the year.

Macron, who made the comments in an interview broadcast on national television, said the bill, which raises the retirement age from 62 to 64, will continue its democratic path.

The Constitutional Council needs to review the bill in the coming weeks, and it can be turned into law only after the body gives its approval.

It was the first time that Macron has spoken publicly since his government forced the pension bill through Parliament last week, prompting protests in Paris and across the country, some degenerating into violence. His government survived two no-confidence votes in the lower chamber of Parliament on Monday.

The 45-year-old French president repeatedly said that he was convinced that the retirement system needed to be modified to remain financially sustainable.

“That reform is not a luxury, it is not fun, its a necessity for the country,” he said.

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Macron condemned the violence that erupted after his decision last week, with some protests devolving into scuffles between demonstrators and police, including in Paris.

He insisted that he respects unions and the protests organized by opponents of the bill.

Dock workers in Marseille on Wednesday blocked access to the city’s commercial port France’s biggest preventing trucks and cars from entering amid a heavy police presence.

Garbage was still piling up on some Paris streets as sanitation workers entered their 17th day of striking. Authorities issued an order in recent days requiring some garbage employees to ensure a minimum service for health reasons.

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Oil shipments in the country were partially disrupted amid strikes at several refineries in western and southern France. Gas stations in the country’s southeast region are currently the most affected by shortages.

Unions have called for new nationwide protests and strikes Thursday to demand that the government simply withdraw the retirement bill. High-speed and regional trains, the Paris Metro and other public transportation in major cities are expected to be disrupted.