Why are the French so angry to retire 2 years later?

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to fill the streets of France on Thursday for the 11th day of national resistance to a government proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The furious public reaction to the plan cornered and weakened French President Emmanuel Macron.

The highest French body in charge of constitutional affairs will consider raising the retirement age. The Constitutional Council is expected to issue a decision this month and Macron’s opponents hope it will severely limit his proposal.

In many countries, raising the retirement age by two years would not throw the nation into such disarray. But the French public is overwhelmingly against the pension reform, and the relentless protests against it have turned into wider anger.


Mounds of up to 10,000 tonnes of rubbish have piled up on the streets of Paris during a week-long strike by sanitation workers against a plan that would raise their retirement age from 57 to 59 – lower than the national age because their jobs are physically harder.

“People are angry,” said Jérôme Villier, a 43-year-old doctoral researcher in Paris. “It’s obvious.”

Many governments in the developed world find themselves in similar situations. Population growth is down, people are living longer, medicine is better and benefits are more expensive. Attempts by democracies to balance budgets by cutting benefits, especially in countries with generous regimes like France, put governments at risk. Many agree that Macron made fundamental missteps.


Fearing that he would not get enough votes in parliament to pass the bill, Macron resorted to the “nuclear option” by using a special article of the French Constitution allowing the government to force the bill through without a vote. This caused outrage across France which further fueled discontent, diminished his popularity and galvanized his critics’ image of him as a monarchical leader.

Macron lost his majority in parliament last year and his government survived two no-confidence votes last month – one by just nine wafer-thin votes – after angering the nation by ramming reform through parliament.

Experts say the protests show Macron was re-elected due to antipathy for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen more than enthusiasm for him. And even if the protests die down, the French president will still have suffered a bloody political nose and a permanent stain on his authority.

“I am worried about France. Because people really hate Macron – we hate him – and we’re only at the beginning, we’re still four years old,” said Mohamed Belmoud, 28, an insurance salesman. “He continued to be descending. The French need more compromise. ”


The pension law needs the green light from the Constitutional Council on April 14. The Paris garbage collectors’ union called for new strikes on April 13, with other unions pledging to continue resisting until the controversial law is overturned. Some predict that the French public’s enthusiasm – and resources – for protests and strikes are waning.

“Going on strike is an expensive business, so you can’t do it forever,” said Jean-Daniel Levy, Harris Interactive’s deputy polling director. And dwindling purchasing power is a real problem, leaving many unable to afford more strikes, he said.

Others say the violence seen in nationwide protests, with dozens of protesters and police injured, has discouraged ordinary people.

“The protests have become more violent over time. This means that many in France are now staying away,” said Luc Rouban, CNRS research director at Sciences Po.


France’s highest constitutional court is made up of judges called “les sages” and chaired by former socialist Prime Minister Laurent Fabius. If it decides that any part or all of the law is inconsistent with the constitution or within the scope of the law’s intentions, the council can strike it down. The ‘wise men’ will also decide whether critics of the law can press ahead with their attempts to force a national referendum on pension changes.

While the council is supposed to rule on purely constitutional grounds, experts say it tends to take public opinion into account.

“Polls still show an overwhelming majority of French people are against pension reform, so a likely scenario is that the council could drop parts of the bill,” said Dominique Andolfatto, a political science professor at the University. of Burgundy.

“There is a certain hatred in the air that we have rarely seen against a French leader,” he said. “It’s uncharted water.”

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