Protesters Storm Through Streets Of France After Retirement Age Raised

Protesters In The Streets Of France (Photo Credits To Wikimedia Pictures)

Protesters In The Streets Of France (Photo Credits To Wikimedia Pictures)

Angry protesters rage through France, livid after French president Emmanuel Macron raised the retirement age from 62 to 64.  Fearing he wouldn’t have the votes necessary to pass it, Macron used his constitutional powers to pass this new policy without a vote from the National Assembly, sparking feelings of injustice. 

People have gone to great measures to show how they feel, protesting in the streets, blocking public transportation, going on strike, and even setting fire to the city hall in Bordeaux.

Inès, a 25 year old woman from Seine Saint Denis, said in an interview with The Guardian, “This is about workers on the streets fighting for their rights.”

Many of the younger people reportedly didn’t feel affected by the changes of the pension until Macron passed the change in age without a vote. This unorthodox approach was what made people of all ages feel obliged to head to the streets and join the movement.

People against this new system argue that taxing the rich or wealthy employers would be a better solution to keep the French economy strong.

But despite all the anger that looms over France, President Macron holds a firm stance that this new policy will be beneficial to France. Macron stated that this was the “only viable way of ensuring the future of France’s pension system,” and said that it was crucial to adjust to the ever-rising life expectancy and to help the country’s financial position. With the retirement age so low in France, and age expectancy continually increasing, keeping the age static could harm the French economy. The government said that raising the retirement age is necessary in order to “keep the pension system afloat”.

“Do you think I enjoy making this reform? No. This reform isn’t a luxury, it’s not a pleasure, it’s a necessity,” Macron said.

On April 15, 2023, Macron addressed France over television. “Gradually working more means also producing more wealth for our whole country,” he told his nation.

To put this into perspective, France’s previous retirement age, 62, is much lower than other countries, including European nations and the United States, where retirement ages range from 65-67. 

The current policy in the United States is to begin to receive social security benefits as early as 62, and the average worker retires at 65 years old. In addition, the average life expectancy in France is currently 82, while in the United States it is 77. It would make sense for the French retirement age to be raised, even to simply be even with other nations.

Another important thing to consider in terms of the French economy is the people who pay for social security benefits/pensions. Social security works by having young workers contribute a little bit of their money every month to help people who are retired, so that when they themselves retire, they also receive a monthly check. If the retirement age were to remain the same, there would be a much larger financial burden on children and young workers. If the retirement age in the U.S. was lowered to what it currently is in France, they would have no choice but to raise taxes, which is an increased financial burden on everyone, including younger people.

Overall, many agree that it is time for a change in France, especially given how far below their retirement age is to other countries’. If this change wasn’t put into place, it would be a heavier financial load for younger people. But even though this decision is widely viewed as a positive reform in France, many believe that Macron should not have overridden a vote from the National Assembly.