Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

"Understood Anger": Macron Regrets No Consensus Found On France Pension Reform

"Understood Anger": Macron Regrets No Consensus Found On France Pension Reform

France Pension Reform Protest: Emmanuel Macron signed the legislation early Saturday, just hours after its banner change to hike the retirement age from 62 to 64 had been validated by the constitutional court.
President Emmanuel Macron on Monday staunchly defended his widely unpopular pension reform but said he regretted that no consensus had been found on the change.

Addressing France for the first time since signing the reform into law, Macron said he understood the "anger" felt by the French over the raising of the retirement age.

Macron signed the legislation early Saturday, just hours after its banner change to hike the retirement age from 62 to 64 had been validated by the constitutional court, prompting accusations he was smuggling the law through in the dead of night.

After three months of protests and strikes, the left and unions have vowed not to give in and warned of mass Labour Day protests on May 1.

Polls have consistently recorded a majority of French opposed to the reform, which the government rammed through parliament using a controversial mechanism to avoid a vote.

Speaking from the Elysee Palace, Macron defended the reform as "necessary" and insisted "doing nothing" was not a solution.

"Has this reform been accepted? Obviously not. And despite months of consultations, no consensus could be found and I regret it."

Noting the protests that have raged against the reform, he added: "No one, especially not me, can remain deaf to this demand for social justice."

"The answer can be neither in rigidity, nor in extremism," said the president, adding his "door will always be open" to talks with the unions.

Macron's personal popularity ratings have eroded with some analysts suggesting he has given a head start to far-right leader Marine Le Pen down the long path to 2027 elections.

'No point in listening'

Unions have meanwhile spurned an invitation to the Elysee for talks.

As the president spoke, thousands gathered outside town halls across France, banging saucepans in a bid to drown out the speech.

"He hasn't listened to us for three months. We're doing this to show there's no point in listening to him either," 57-year-old projectionist Benedicte Delgehier said in Paris.

After the speech, dozens joined a spontaneous protest in the capital, setting fire to garbage containers with police firing tear gas canisters to disperse them, AFP correspondents said.

Opponents from across the board said Macron's speech had only reinforced concerns about how the reform was handled.

"He chose to turn his back on the French and ignore their suffering," said far-right figurehead and former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Hard-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said Macron was "totally out of touch with reality".

CFDT union leader Laurent Berger added that it contained "nothing concrete" for the labour movement and said Macron had "not uttered a word" on easing tensions.

Possibly more troublingly for the president, the head of the right-wing Republicans who supported the reform, Eric Ciotti, dismissed the speech as a "catalogue of pious wishes" and said Macron's "method had clearly not changed".

Macron said he had tasked his government led by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne to lead 100 days of action "at the service of France".

'Within slapping range'

The prime minister should lay out a roadmap in the next days with the first results to be announced on France's national day on July 14, Macron said.

He promised "major announcements" during May including action against juvenile delinquency and also "reinforcing controls against illegal immigration".

Macron earlier had lunch with Borne, then met key figures from his party including ultra-loyal rising stars tipped for promotions such as Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu, 36, and Budget Minister Gabriel Attal, 34.

But no cabinet reshuffle is planned in the near future, several sources close to the presidency told AFP.

The president, often consumed with diplomacy, will this week also make at least one trip within France after criticism that he is failing to connect with people.

"I want Macron to spend more time on the ground," said one cabinet minister, who asked not to be named. Even "within range of being slapped".

The crisis also comes at a time of increasing challenges on the international stage for Macron, who faced accusations of cosying up to China on a visit to Beijing.

Macron, 45, came to power in 2017 promising reform and a fresh new politics. But opponents accuse him of increasingly reclusive and anti-democratic behaviour.

"Emmanuel Macron is far from finished from having to deal with the social and political crisis, which he continues to dangerously stir up," said Le Monde newspaper in an editorial.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×