French President Emmanuel Macron has invoked special powers to force pension reform in the country, despite facing resistance from labor unions and opposition parties. The move comes after months of negotiations and protests over Macron’s proposed changes to the country’s retirement system, which he argues are necessary to ensure its long-term sustainability.
Macron’s use of the special powers, known as Article 49.3, allows him to bypass a vote in parliament and pass the legislation directly, sparking outrage from the opposition. The president defended the move, saying it was necessary to avoid further delays and ensure that the reforms are implemented quickly.
The proposed reforms would create a single points-based pension system, replacing the current system that includes more than 40 different pension plans. Supporters of the reforms say it would simplify the system and make it fairer, while opponents argue that it would lead to cuts in benefits and undermine the rights of workers.
The pension reform has been a major issue in French politics since Macron first proposed it in 2019, with unions and protesters staging regular strikes and demonstrations against the changes. The government has tried to negotiate with the unions, but talks have stalled in recent months.
Macron’s decision to use Article 49.3 has sparked widespread criticism from opposition parties and unions, who have accused him of ignoring democratic norms and failing to consult with stakeholders. The move is likely to further inflame tensions between the government and the unions, who have vowed to continue their protests against the reforms.
The pension reform is seen as a key part of Macron’s economic reform agenda, which has been focused on modernizing the French economy and making it more competitive. While the reforms are popular with business groups and investors, they have faced strong opposition from labor unions and some segments of the population who argue that they are unfair and undermine workers’ rights.