World News

French senators begin debate on Macron’s contested pension reform


French senators will begin debating President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial pension plan on Thursday, as the centrist government hopes to strike a compromise with conservatives in the upper house of parliament so it can push the bill through.

Macron has vowed to press ahead with the bill, which seeks to raise France’s minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, despite nationwide demonstrations and strikes and opinion polls consistently showing a majority of French people against the change.

Workers’ unions and youth groups have pledged to “bring France to a standstill” at the next protest, scheduled for March 7.

Two weeks of discussions in the National Assembly last month were marked by fiery tempers and thousands of amendments proposed mainly by the leftist opposition, preventing lawmakers from reviewing the full bill.

Negotiations among administration officials are expected to go more smoothly in the Republican-dominated Senate. For years, conservative senators have pushed to raise the minimum retirement age.

Republican Senator Bruno Letlow told Le Parisien recently in an interview that “we want” to vote on the bill after “making changes”.

Conservative senators are proposing an amendment to give working mothers a 5% pension bonus. Administration officials said they were open to discussions about including such measures.

Republican senators also backed a special contract that would induce companies to retain or hire older workers near retirement in exchange for paying less tax.

The debate is scheduled to conclude next weekend.

If the bill is approved by the Senate, it will continue through France’s complex legislative process.

A committee of lawmakers from both houses of parliament will then seek to reach a potential agreement on a joint version of the text, which will eventually be submitted to the National Assembly for approval at the end of this month and then to the Senate for approval.

Macron’s centrist coalition has the most seats in the National Assembly but lost its majority in last year’s legislative elections. Therefore, the passage of the motion needs to rely on the support of the right wing.

However, some Republican lawmakers publicly disagreed and said they would not ratify, making congressional votes unpredictable.

Another option for the government is to use special constitutional powers to force the bill to pass without a vote – a risky option given how unpopular such a decision is.

(Associated Press)

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please Turn of the Ad Blocker!