France’s highest constitutional court has given the green light to President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to increase the minimum pension age from 62 to 64. The ruling paves the way for the government to proceed with the contentious pension plans by the end of the year, with implementation as early as next week.
Despite the court’s verdict, protests continue to sweep across the country, with hundreds of demonstrators taking to the streets of Paris and other cities. Reports of violent incidents have also emerged, underscoring the intensity of opposition to the proposed pension changes.
However, while the constitutional council has approved the majority of the pension proposal, it did reject some minor aspects of the plan, specifically measures aimed at increasing employment opportunities for older workers. This ruling has further fueled the discontent among trade unions, opposition politicians, and a substantial portion of the French population, as surveys indicate that two-thirds of citizens are opposed to raising the retirement age.
President Macron, undeterred by the ongoing street demonstrations, has made it clear that he intends to “stay the course” with his pension reform agenda. As he faces mounting pressure from dissenting voices, he now has two weeks to sign the bill into law.
In response to the escalating protests, Paris has taken precautions by deploying armed riot police, and authorities have issued a ban on demonstrations near the constitutional council building to maintain public order.
Moreover, attempts to challenge the pension law through a citizens’ referendum have hit a roadblock, as the constitutional council has denied the request for such a referendum. However, another request remains pending, with a decision expected in May.
The proposed increase in the minimum pension age has been a divisive issue from the outset, and the constitutional court’s approval is unlikely to quell the fervor of those vehemently opposing the measure. The coming weeks will be crucial as the government prepares to implement the new pension regulations, and the nation watches closely to see how President Macron navigates through this period of social unrest and dissent.