French President Emmanuel Macron in a television interview in a picture taken on March 22, 2023.
Paris – France's pension reform is expected to come into effect by the end of the year. It will be enforced in a democratic way, assured President Emmanuel Macron in an extensive television interview. Meanwhile, protests and strikes against the reform continue in France, but the president has said that the government will try to return the country to normal life as soon as possible.
Photo gallery: Resistance to pension reform in France
< p>Macron spoke to the French nation in a televised interview two days after the government narrowly defeated a vote of no confidence by a narrow margin of nine votes in a special procedure, forcing highly unpopular changes to the pension system through parliament.
The head of the Elysee Palace did not comment much on the events in recent days and left the communication to Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne. Today, however, he tried to reassure the public in an interview with TF1 and France 2 televisions. In it, he said, among other things, that Borneo had his confidence and that he asked her to draw up a “legislative program” that would limit the number of laws that would simultaneously be more concise and clear.
Macron assured today that the law, which gradually raises the retirement age from 62 to 64, “will continue on its democratic path” as it is considered by the Constitutional Council in the coming weeks. “Do you think I'm happy about implementing this reform? No,” the president said. “But there aren't hundreds of ways to balance the accounts, this reform is necessary,” he explained.
The president emphasized that he was ready to face the unpopularity of the pension reform and admitted that the government had failed in communication and explanation. “We failed to communicate the necessity of carrying out this reform,” Macron said. However, he also complained that the unions did not present any compromise proposal.
At the same time, he expressed the wish to renew the dialogue with the social partners. He therefore called on the unions to resume dialogue in the next “three weeks to one month” and said he wanted to involve them more in future reforms. He explained that he wanted to “face up” to the topics of professional attrition, end of working career and retraining.
More generally today, Macron also commented on other topics. He sharply criticized, for example, the “cynicism” of some large companies that generated large windfalls that enabled them to buy back their own shares. Macron said he had asked the government to work on an “extraordinary contribution” from these companies to benefit workers. he must be understood by public anger, if it does not manifest itself in violence.
Today, among other things, protesters blocked train stations in the southern French cities of Nice and Toulouse. The protests, along with strikes that have paralyzed the operation of refineries, public transport or waste collection, represent the biggest challenge to the centrist president's authority since the so-called yellow vest revolt four years ago, Reuters noted. The unions announced another nationwide wave of strikes and demonstrations for Thursday.