France: Controversial pension reform comes into force

France: Controversial pension reform comes into force

After the sometimes violent mass protests, the controversial pension reform is now coming into force in France. Large rallies have not been announced.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension reform will come into force this Friday after months of sometimes violent protests. Large rallies at the start of the reform, which will gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, have not been announced. Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt visits a regional pension insurance office in Mulhouse, Alsace, on Friday when the new rules come into force.

Pension reform sparked mass protests and violence in France

The trade unions had taken a united front against the reform and organized mass protests with hundreds of thousands of participants. The rallies sometimes turned violent after the government pushed the reform through parliament without a vote after a turbulent debate.

In the end, the presidential camp was not sure of sufficient support from other parties, hence the unusual step. The protests were accompanied by strikes on the railways and at airports. Garbage has not been removed from parts of Paris for weeks.

Macron actually put the sensitive issue of pensions on the agenda during his first term in office. After the so-called yellow vest protests, however, the corona pandemic came and the reform was called off for the time being. In the 2022 election campaign, the President then announced a second attempt.

So far, many people in France have been working beyond the age of 62 if they had not paid in long enough for a pension without deductions when they reached retirement age.

Macron justified the reform with an impending deficit in the pension fund. Because in view of an aging population, employees would have to pay for an increasing number of pensioners with their contributions – similar to Germany. In order to keep the level of pensions stable, the population would have to work a little longer.

Source: Stern

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