France’s Constitutional Council approves pension reform

17 Apr 2023

France’s flagship pension reform is set to come into force quickly after receiving approval from the Constitutional Council last week.

The reform, which increases the pension age from 62 to 64, has led to months of protests and strikes.

When the Constitutional Council’s decision was announced, protesters assembled outside Paris City Hall with banners stating, “climate of anger” and “no end to the strikes until the reform is withdrawn.”

According to opinion polls, a vast majority are against the policy reforms, and the government pushing the bill through parliament without a final vote it may have lost, Reuters reports.

“All the labour unions are calling on the President of the Republic to show some wisdom, listen and understand what is happening in the country and not to promulgate this law,” said the leader of the CGT union, Sophie Binet.

Unions said in a joint statement that this was “the only way to soothe the anger in the country.”

However, officials rebuffed the request, and stated the text would become law in the coming days.

According to the Constitutional Council, the actions undertaken by the government were in line with the Constitution, which approved increasing the retirement age.

President Macron said last week: “The country must continue to move forward, work, and face the challenges that await us.”

However, the opposition said they wouldn’t back down. “The fight continues,” said hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon.

In addition, the Constitutional Council denied a proposal put forward by the opposition for a citizens’ referendum on pension reform.

Another bid for a referendum has been tabled, due for review by the Council at the beginning of next month.

President Macron said that people need to work longer or the pension budget will fall into billions of Euros of debt every year by the end of this decade.