Country Grinds to a Halt Over Proposed Change

Country Could Grind to a Halt Over Proposed Change

( – The French people reelected President Emmanuel Macron in 2022. He became the first leader to secure a second term in the country in decades. He beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen for the second time in a row, winning 58.5% of the vote to her 41.5%. However, he had lost a noticeable amount of support since his first election in 2017, where he won by 66.1% to Le Pen’s 33.9%.

Though he won reelection less than a year ago, he’s already facing a major test in his presidency. In fact, a policy he is trying to push through has led to a shutdown in the country.

The Proposal

In January, the French government unveiled a plan to raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64 by 2030. The overhaul of the pension system was one of his key campaign promises when he ran for reelection. After the plan to raise the age of retirees was announced, The New York Times reported Prime Minister √Člisabeth Borne said it was necessary to “preserve [the country’s] social model.”

Macron’s proposal would mean that workers who were born in 1961 and are on track to retire this year would have to work for three more months. Everyone who was born in 1968 and beyond will have to wait until they are 64 years old and will need to have a 43-year work history before they can receive a full pension, which is about $1,500 per month after taxes.

People who began working between the ages of 14 and 19 will be allowed to retire early with a full pension. Additionally, anyone who has a major health problem will also be able to receive their full pension early.

Anger Over the Plan

The proposal is wildly unpopular with both labor unions and French citizens. When Macron proposed a similar plan in 2019, it led to widespread protests and one of the longest transportation strikes in history.

This time around, the reception has not been much better. On March 7, schools were closed across the country, trains were not moving, ports shut down, flights were canceled, refineries were not running, and other industries were at a standstill. Labor unions had vowed to bring the European nation to a halt, and it seemed that plan was underway.

According to RTL, a French website, a survey showed 72% of the country supported the mobilization of the unions, and 63% said a shutdown would be a good thing.

The bill is currently in the French Senate. Macron wants to get it passed later this month.

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