PENSIONS REFORM

Poll shows majority of French want Macron's pension reform back on the table

President Emmanuel Macron's pensions reform brought thousands of people onto the streets in protest and led to crippling strikes.
President Emmanuel Macron's pensions reform brought thousands of people onto the streets in protest and led to crippling strikes. Charles Platiau/Reuters

A majority of French people say they want the government’s long-thwarted overhaul of the pension system, which led to widespread crippling strikes, to be re-examined. President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that the reform cannot go ahead as originally planned.  

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A poll by Ifop and the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) found that 53 percent of people – mostly supporters of the government and the right-wing opposition – were in favour of the project being returned to the spotlight after it was shelved in the wake of the pandemic.

Touted as the single greatest revamp of the pension system since World War II, the reform consisted of a raft of measures including raising the retirement age by two years to 64.

Angry unions led tens of thousands of people into the streets in protest, with transport strikes bringing cities such as Paris to a standstill.

Despite the newfound support for his signature reform, however, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday it could not go ahead “as it was originally envisaged”.

He told reporters: “It was very ambitious and extremely complex and that is why it generated anxiety, we must admit that. Doing it right now would mean ignoring the fact that there are already a lot of worries.”

Analysis in the JDD said it would be politically risky for Macron to push ahead with the reform as campaigning begins for the 2022 presidential election

The president on Thursday again refused to confirm he will seek another five-year term.

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