A majority of the French Senate agrees with the idea of raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. Shortly after midnight, 201 senators voted in favor of President Macron’s proposal; 115 members opposed.
Raising the retirement age is one of the most controversial parts of the French government’s plans to reform the pension system. The French have been taking to the streets for weeks to protest against it. There are also massive strikes in the country, including in education and public transport.
Last month, the pension plans were already on the table in the French Assembly, comparable to the House of Representatives in the Netherlands. There, the debates on the bills were so chaotic that most parts were not voted on.
The Assembly members did not even discuss raising the retirement age. This was mainly due to the thousands of amendments that had been submitted. The coalition of the governing parties does not have a majority in the Assembly.
Tens of thousands of French people again demonstrated against the pension plans on Tuesday:
The Senate has now approved a higher retirement age. Later today, the senators will discuss Macron’s other proposals to adjust the pension system. He also wants the French to only be entitled to a full pension once they have worked for 43 years. This plan has also received a lot of criticism in recent times.
The Senate must have voted on the full pension package by Sunday evening. After that, agreement still has to be found with the Assembly. Next week, a committee with members of both the French Senate and the House of Representatives will meet to discuss a compromise, writes the French newspaper Le Figaro.
On the shovel
President Macron already announced when he took office as president that he wanted to reform the pension system. According to him, this is necessary because the French population is ageing: a relatively small group of working people pays the full pension of an ever-growing group of pensioners. That system will soon be priceless, says Macron.
For that reason, he wants to gradually increase the retirement age from 62 years now to 64 years in 2030. If his proposal is adopted, the French will have to work three months longer every year from September. The number of years they have to work to claim a full pension will then also increase, from over 42 to 43 years.
Furthermore, many pension rules for individual occupational groups are being scrapped. However, exceptions will continue to exist for heavy professions: employees in these sectors will still be able to retire earlier. The same applies to people who have already started working as a teenager.
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