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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

France. The Constitutional Council gave the green light to the pension reform

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The French Constitutional Council approved most of the assumptions of the pension reform proposed by Emmanuel Macron’s government, including the increase in the retirement age, which has caused the greatest opposition from French society. On Friday afternoon, further demonstrations of trade unionists began in many cities of the country. The seat of the Council has been guarded by the police and military police since Thursday.

The pension reform proposed by Macron’s government, which raising the retirement age from 62 to 64 is fiercely contested by a large part of French society. Opposition to the law has regularly mobilized hundreds of thousands of protesters in the streets of many French cities, most notably in Paris, for months. The government is dealing with a serious political crisis, on par with the “yellow vest” protests that broke out in late 2018.

On Friday, the Constitutional Council – the equivalent of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal – confirmed the constitutionality of the government’s pension reform. The nine-member Council includes: former Prime Ministers Laurent Fabius, its president, and Alain Juppe.

Unionists in the streets. “We don’t want your reform”

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Expecting mass protests on Friday, the French Interior Ministry issued a ban on demonstrations at the headquarters of the Constitutional Council in Paris, which was separated from the street by a glass barrier behind which police cars are located. Security has been guarded here since Thursday by policemen and gendarmes.

The seat of the Constitutional Council is guarded by the police and military police. PAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

On Friday afternoon, even before the Council’s decision, trade union demonstrations began in many French cities. They announced 230 protests that day, including in Paris, Marseille and Toulouse. From the morning, trade unionists blocked several access arteries to Marseille, Rouen and Lyon.

Unionists of the CGT headquarters on Friday protested on a ship sailing on the Seine near the Notre Dame cathedral visited by the president Emmanuel Macron. Activists with a banner “We don’t want your reform!” they also drove a truck around the temple.

Members of the CFDT Alsace union began blocking the Stef group plant on the outskirts of Strasbourg on Friday morning, which supplies fresh produce to the entire France. The plant processes approximately 1,000 tons of food products per day. A large queue of trucks and refrigerated trucks formed around it.

A total of 125 policemen were injured during a demonstration against the pension reform in France on Thursday, the interior ministry said on Friday.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/TERESA SUAREZ

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