French senators are discussing raising the retirement age to 64


PARIS (AP) – The French Senate began debating President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension plan Thursday, and the centrist government hopes to strike a compromise with conservative members of parliament’s upper house to pass the bill.

Macron has vowed to push through a bill that would raise the country’s minimum retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030, despite protests and strikes across the country. national and social polls have consistently shown that the majority of the French population opposes change.

Trade unions and youth organizations have vowed to “immobilize” France during the next demonstration scheduled for March 7.

A two-week debate in the National Assembly last month was marked by anger and thousands of amendments proposed by the mainly left-wing opposition, which prevented lawmakers from considering the entire bill. law.

The legislation must pass in the Senate, which is dominated by members of the Les Républicains party. Conservative senators have lobbied for years to raise the minimum retirement age.

Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt said on Thursday that France’s pension system would be in deficit within 10 years “if we do nothing”.

Macron has made overhauling the pension system a top priority of his second term. Dussopt described the proposed legislation as a “fulfilled promise” by the president’s government.

LEARN MORE: Strikes and protests continue in France’s pension battle

“Making this reform means having the courage to implement it and to face the inherent difficulties,” the minister said at the beginning of the debate.

The leader of Les Républicains senators, Bruno Retaillo, told Le Parisien newspaper recently that “we want to vote” on the bill “after making the changes”.

Conservative senators are proposing an amendment that would give working mothers a 5 percent retirement bonus. The representatives of the government said that they are ready to discuss the introduction of such a measure.

Republican senators also support creating a special contract to encourage companies to retain or hire older workers nearing retirement in exchange for paying less in taxes.

The debate is expected to continue until the end of next week.

If the bill is approved by the Senate, it will continue to make its way through France’s complicated legislative process.

A commission made up of lawmakers from both houses of parliament will then try to reach a possible agreement on a common version of the text, which will ultimately be submitted to the National Assembly and then the Senate for approval by the end of the month.

Macron’s centrist alliance won the most seats in the National Assembly but lost its majority in last year’s legislative elections. Therefore, he must believe in supporting the right to pass the bill.

However, some Republican lawmakers have publicly disagreed and said they disapprove, making it difficult to predict the outcome of the vote in the National Assembly.

Another option for the government is to use a special constitutional power to pass a bill without a vote – a risky choice where such a move is highly unpopular.

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