By David Laycock •
Published: 21 Apr 2023 • 17:44
Image of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Credit: Victor Velter/Shutterstock.com
The French are well known for taking to the streets to show their disapproval of many acts of government. And they have been highly enraged by Emmanuel Macron forcing through his pension reform in France, which requires citizens to work until they are 64 rather than 62.
Macron has faced opposition leading up to the signing in of the law and this hasn’t abated since the law was made formal on Saturday, April 15. In fact, the new age of retirement is opposed by 7 in 10 French citizens.
The age of retirement in France is still lower than that in the UK but the French don’t roll over easily and Macron continues to feel the heat of their ire.
Often greeted with jeers and boos wherever he goes, President Macron now needs to try and placate the nation, with Bastille Day celebrations approaching in July. His recent reception in the rural region of Alsace, where protesters called for him to resign, suggests that he has a steep uphill battle.
Despite announcements of pay rises in the teaching sector, the French, who have a long history of standing up to their government, continue to be disgruntled by what some see as an undemocratic decision. This law was never voted on in parliament, but rather passed without the chance of opposition, by decree.
Although Macron sees the pension reform as an election promise made good, it continues to enrage French citizens and commentators, often angered by its seeming lack of democratic process, notably as the nation (and the world) recovers from the pandemic, and economic decline.
As Pierre Rosanvallon, historian and intellectual told the Le Quotidien: “I am angry, because I think, as a historian, that we are going through the most serious democratic crisis that France has known since the conflict of the Algerian war.”
In a televised address Macron said: “We have ahead of us 100 days of appeasement, unity, ambition and action for France.” And in the coming months, we will see if this is possible.
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Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.
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