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France: Macron's pension reform enters decisive hours as unions protest amid mountains of rubbish


Another day of protests against the unpopular measure, while a commission seeks to agree on a final version of the law.

Seven deputies and seven senators meet behind closed doors this Wednesday in a mixed joint commission to find a compromise on



pension reform in France 

that seeks to delay the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.

The president, Emmanuel Macron, hopes that there will be an agreement so that

the final vote can be held on Thursday.

The meeting is held behind closed doors and very close to there, on the Esplanade des Invalides,

the unions have called the eighth day of mobilization

against this reform,

rejected by 68% of the French

, according to the latest polls.

The march took place this Wednesday in Paris in the midst of mountains of garbage, rats, mice and pigeons that, when approaching to eat the waste, end up crushed by cars.

The garbage is the product of the strike of the collectors, adhered to the protests against the reform.

A protester tries to set garbage cans on fire in Rennes.


A part of the left parties had asked that this meeting

be public

, but according to the uses, it will remain out of the projectors.

It is a crucial appointment for the future of this reform that the executive wants to adopt,

whatever the cost


The agreement is more than likely because the macronistas and the right are in the majority.

In the event that an agreement is found this Wednesday, the text

will go this Thursday to the Senate

and the National Assembly for their final vote.

The positive vote is practically assured in the Senate, dominated by the right.

However, uncertainty persists in the National Assembly.

President Emmanuel Macron only has a relative majority and needs the votes of the right-wing group Los Republicanos, no matter what, and in this party

there is a lot of division

on the issue.

"There are deputies of the majority who

a priori

will not vote in favor of the text. And above all, it must be seen that a majority is not necessarily needed on paper. A majority is needed in the session, that is, that the deputies who have afraid of going back to their constituencies, that day

they may decide not to attend the session

," Benjamin Morel, a professor of Public Law at Paris 2, told RFI.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne speaks in the Senate.

Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP

If the ruling party does not get a majority to adopt the text, it can always resort

to article 49.3

of the French Constitution, which

allows it to be adopted without a vote


But resorting to this article would be a failure for Macron.

"The reality is that 49.3 would be a political defeat, at least symbolic. But if the text were rejected by the National Assembly,

it would be a defeat

, a real stampede," adds the political analyst.

The risks of a decree

A recourse to 49.3 could in turn cause

the protest movement to harden in the streets


If he resorts to this mechanism, Macron is also

exposed to a motion of no confidence

, according to some opposition deputies, another thing is that he can prosper.

If the reform is approved without the support of Congress, the protest movement will harden in the streets.

Photo: AP

"I don't think there is a risk that this means the end of Macron's term, he was elected until 2027. What is at stake is

his ability to approve texts

, there is a real risk of a form of inertia or of weakening the capacity to carry out reforms, to approve texts and, therefore, ultimately,

to govern the country

", analyzes Morel.

Eighth day of mobilization

Meanwhile, this Wednesday

the eighth day of mobilization

against the reform is celebrated.

Although the movement seems to be weakening, some sectors continue with the strikes, such as garbage collectors, certain transports or the energy sector.

Mountains of garbage in front of a restaurant in Paris.

Photo: Christophe Archambault/ AFP

"It is an important day to defeat this unjust reform. The mobilization of workers must challenge the deputies.

Let's be numerous in the streets

," tweeted Laurent Berger, leader of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT).

The workers' union also announced a protest for Thursday in front of Parliament to coincide with the vote on the project.

Despite the massive rejection expressed on March 7, when almost 2 million people


, according to the Police itself, the Government remained firm in its plan that seeks, as it affirms,

to avoid a future deficit

in the pension fund in a country with a growing life expectancy.

Protesters carry signs against French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

"This reform is urgently necessary for

the financing of our pensions and the solidity of the country

. We have a solid majority" in Congress of forces favorable to carrying out the law, a confident Macron assured this week.

Since last week, unions have launched an


strike in key sectors such as energy and transport.

Agencies and RFI

look too

Macron faces a crucial week in his attempt to change France from the roots

Strike in France: unions seek to "paralyze" the country to stop the pension reform

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-15

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