Pension reform in France: the media comment on Macron’s actions

French President Emmanuel Macron pushes the controversial pension reform through parliament without a vote. French and international media are critical of this approach.

After the pension reform was pushed through in France without the final approval of parliament, what is probably President Emmanuel Macron’s most important project is not yet completely sealed. No-confidence motions against the government by the opposition are expected by Friday. This had pushed through the raising of the retirement age from 62 to 64 on Thursday at the last minute with the help of a special article in the constitution without a vote. She wasn’t sure of a majority in the National Assembly. Although the conservative Républicains had initially signaled support for the president’s center camp, this then crumbled.

Media in France and its neighboring countries comment on the pension reform:


La Liberation: “(French President) Emmanuel Macron broke open all the eggs he had in the fridge, but he didn’t manage to make an omelette. (…) All this, after weeks of statements to the contrary, to the shameful Article 49.3 to avoid a vote he was about to lose. (…) Does he really believe that the markets are just waiting for his reform? (…) What the markets hate most (…) is instability. And his ill-conceived pension reform is propelling France, its democracy and its workers straight into that instability. The President could save the day by announcing that the law will be repealed after its undemocratic passage. But it’s not his way to listen to the French.”


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “Even more worrying than the political failure are the ‘financial and economic risks’ that the Elysée Palace has cited to justify the shortened parliamentary voting process. President Macron has so far reassured his compatriots that state finances are sound. Appeals to There were hardly any savings, and there was never a debate about the high level of debt during the presidential election campaign.Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had announced an end to the ‘whatever it costs’ attitude, but Macron gave the impression that he himself did not believe in it More and more expensive cash injections to combat inflation were introduced.

It is therefore surprising that Macron used Article 49.3 of the Constitution to thwart an impending defeat on pension reform in order to avert financial risks. With this line of argument, the Elysée Palace has torn away the veil over the debt spiral for the first time. The pension reform is associated with the hope of savings of up to 17 billion euros a year. But the warning about the “financial risks” comes too late to calm the country’s anger. The Macron method has failed.”

Reutlinger General-Anzeiger: “But Macron only achieved a sham victory. Because the last word has not yet been spoken on the pension reform. Macron’s government must expect a vote of no confidence. But the loss of confidence that the president has inflicted on himself is even more serious. Such an important and controversial social reform , without real political legitimacy, is a fatal mistake. It will lead to the opponents uniting and paralyzing France. Macron has plunged his country into crisis and permanently damaged its image as a pragmatist and innovator of a deadlocked political system.”

The mirror: “But it is part of a democracy to accept defeat and laboriously achieve compromises. This government seems incapable of both at the moment. No external circumstance forced Macron to carry out the reform in this inflation and war winter of all times. The hole in the pension fund was not so big that immediate action was needed, actually, why not take time until the summer to negotiate with the unions, with whom you could have drafted a broader, more ambitious reform than the current one?

Of course, pension reform is urgently needed. And reasonable.” “And so in the end it’s French democracy itself – the presidential democracy – that stands out as the loser. You can’t govern a people that is so belligerent, keen on strikes and steeped in the romanticism of revolution, with a constitution that allows votes to be overturned. That doesn’t work out well in the long run .”

People’s Voice (Magdeburg): “Emmanuel Macron wanted to put out the fire around the French pension reform. But he’s fanning it again by pushing the law through the National Assembly without a vote. It’s not forbidden in France, but it takes away the law’s parliamentary legitimacy. Macron had to change “Fearing Republican approval for his pet project, hence the security variant. Such an edict is open to challenge. By a no-confidence vote that could bring down the entire government at once. That opens the floodgates for speculation and demonstrations. The blessing of the reform should create stability and turbulent weeks in France. Now things should really get down to business. On the streets, where new mass protests could sink the law. No less in politics: Macron’s numerous opponents will leave no stone unturned to overthrow the president.”


TheTimes: “Emmanuel Macron showed considerable political courage when he pushed through the law raising the retirement age to 64. After a failed attempt to gain parliamentary support, the French President waived a vote and opted for a decree. Given his political isolation in this explosive issue, this is a courageous – some would say foolhardy – step. But it was a challenge that had to be mastered. France can no longer afford its luxurious pension system. (…)

Meanwhile, right-wing politician Marine Le Pen took advantage of the unease about the president and announced a vote of no confidence. Macron has to get through this. France is sometimes seen as irreformable. The pension reform law was variously criticized as “inhumane” and “brutal”. Nothing of the sort applies. As times change, France must change with them.”


The New Zurich Times: “The application of Article 49.3 of the Constitution is perfectly legal. However, passing the law without a vote in the Grand Chamber weakens the acceptance of the reform. The project has been extremely unpopular with the population from the start. And the unions have already announced that they will continue to demonstrate “An increase in riots during protests must be expected. At most, the reform could still be prevented: if a motion of no confidence is made against the government and it gets through.

The former will definitely be attempted, the latter will most likely fail. Still, the government is weakened and the pension reform, though passed, is a defeat for them. With the reform, the retirement age will gradually rise from 62 to 64 by 2030. The contribution period is extended to 43 years. And most special pension regimes will be abolished. That’s good. Reform was urgently needed.”

Other sources:“NZZ”, “The mirror”, “”, “The Times”.


source site-3