Nationwide demonstrations against French President Emmanuel Macron’s reform of the pensions system continued on Tuesday, in the tenth separate day of action called by trade unions. The protests are chiefly over the reform’s raising of the age of retirement on full pension rights by two years to 64, which the government argues is necessary to fund the system. But one of the recurrent demands voiced by the marchers is for a tax on the super-rich instead, a proposition, resolutely opposed by Macron, that is also surprisingly gaining ground among elite economic circles. Mathias Thépot reports.
Following a televised interview on Wednesday in which Emmanuel Macron made his first public comments since forcing his pension reform legislation through parliament without a vote last week, trades union leaders and opposition parties variously slammed the French president for telling 'lies' and showing 'disdain' and 'contempt' for those against the reform, while another nationwide day of demonstrations and strikes against its implementation is to be held on Thursday.
The French government on Thursday announced it will use an article of the constitution that allows it to adopt as legislation its proposed and hotly contested reform of the pensions system without a vote in Parliament. In this op-ed analysis of the move, Mediapart political correspondent Ilyes Ramdani argues that it is not only the latest manifestation of President Emmanuel Macron’s top-down exercise of power, but it may also represent one too many, opening up a profound crisis into which his second and final term in office is now plunged.
The strong opposition to Emmanuel Macron’s proposed reform of the pension system, notably raising for most people the age of retirement on full pension rights from 62 to 64, continued on Wednesday, with another day of nationwide protests, the eighth in succession. As the reform reaches its final passage in parliament, the French president and his government insist that the reform was at the centre of his manifesto for re-election last year, and was therefore supported and legitimized by the electorate. But Mediapart can reveal that a series of opinion polls commissioned by Macron’s election campaign team belie the claim. Christophe Gueugneau and Antton Rouget report.
The battle against the French government's pension reform is not simply just another protest movement. Three crucial issues are at stake here: social, democratic and civilisational, as shown by the exceptional unity among trade unions opposed to the changes, argues Mediapart’s publishing editor Edwy Plenel in this op-ed article. All the more reason, he writes, to put all our energy into supporting this combat.
The French president has just completed a five-day tour of four African countries, Gabon, Angola, Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Before he left Paris, Emmanuel Macron delivered what was billed as a keynote speech on the future of France's relations with the continent. Yet as Justine Brabant and Ilyes Ramdani say in this analysis of that speech, the French head of state instead delivered a series of clichés and untruths. And, they say, he showed himself incapable of acknowledging his own policy failures in his dealings with African nations.
French president's latest tour of Africa comes at a time of ever-increasing competition from China and Russia, and growing resentment of the close economic ties between France and its former colonies, which some see as a form of continued exploitation.
In an interview with French media, President Emmanuel Macron argued for increased military support for Ukraine to see Russia defeated, but said he did not agree with those who 'want to, above all else, crush Russia', adding that past attempts around the world for regime change have ended in 'total failure'.
At the end of a four-week trial, a Paris court has acquitted nine out of a far-right group of 13 men and women aged between 26 and 66 accused of plotting a knife attack against President Emmanuel Macron in 2018.
The current bitterly-opposed pension reforms proposed by the French government are purely designed to save money and have no broader social dimension. This means that President Emmanuel Macron and his supporters are now defending a reform measure which is diametrically opposed to the initial plan they had put forward back in 2017. This U-turn tells us a great deal about the flaws and limp nature of the government writes Ellen Salvi in this analysis of how and why the pension reform plan changed so radically during President Macron's time in office.
The pension changes proposed by President Emmanuel Macron – the fourth reform in twenty years and which in this case will push the retirement age back from 62 to 64 - will leave no one better off. The demonstrators who have taken to the streets on January 19th and January 31st have fully grasped that point, say Mediapart's Stéphane Alliès, Carine Fouteau and Dan Israel in this op-ed article. They argue that the stubbornness shown by the government, which looks set to force the reforms through the French Parliament, represents a danger to democracy.