France’s Constitution Council on Friday paved the way for French President Emmanuel Macron to officially raise the country’s age of retirement from 62 to 64 following months of protests over the controversial pension reform.
The Council approved the plan that Macron’s government pushed through parliament last month with some changes, though the body kept the increase for the age of retirement, which has been the main motivator behind the nationwide protests.
Macron now has 15 days to sign the measure into law to officially make the changes to the nation’s pension system, which the French president has argued is necessary to avoid a collapse to France’s Social Security program.
French President Emmanuel Macron talks to the media as he awaits President of Costa Rica Rodrigo Chaves Robles for a meeting at the Élysée Palace in Paris March 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla)
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Security forces were stationed outside the Constitutional Council Friday as more protests, which at times have turned violent, were anticipated depending on the Council’s decision.
Macron reportedly agreed to meet with to union leaders Tuesday after rejecting a similar meeting last month.
“The doors of the Élysée [presidential palace] will remain open, without condition, for this dialogue,” his office said.
It is unclear if the unions, which have helped lead the mass protests, will consent to meet with Macron or what the French president hopes to accomplish out of such a meeting.
Protesters march during a rally in Paris. (AP/Aurelien Morissard)
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Union leaders have said the Council’s decisions would be respected. Though, eight unions sent a “common declaration” to the constitutional body reaffirming their opposition to the pension program changes.
The unions have vowed to continue their protests in an attempt to persuade Macron not to sign the legislation, a move that is unlikely as the French president has made pension reform a cornerstone of his second term.
A demonstrator has a poster mocking French President Emmanuel Macron over his head during a demonstration March 28, 2023, in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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“As long as this reform isn’t withdrawn, the mobilization will continue in one form or another,” Sophie Binet, leader of the leftist CGT union, said Thursday.
Leader of the moderate CFDT union, Laurent Berger, also warned that “there will be repercussions” if the Constitutional Council paved the way for the legislation to reach Macron’s desk.
The Associated Press Contributed to this report.