French govt to delay announcing pension reform plans until Jan – Macron


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PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said that his government would push back the presentation of its pension reform plans, which had been due this week, until January.

The government is currently holding consultation talks with unions on the planned reform, through which Macron seeks to raise France’s minimum retirement age, but opposition to the reform remains strong against a backdrop of rising inflation.

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“Several political parties went through leadership votes in the last few days and have changed their leaders (…). It seemed appropriate to postpone the announcement by a few days or a few weeks and therefore rather than doing it on Dec. 15 we’ll do it on Jan. 10,” Macron said in televised remarks.

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France’s Les Republicains, a crucial partner for Macron’s reform plans given the president lacks an absolute majority in parliament to pass laws, on Sunday elected Eric Ciotti, a staunch law-and-order conservative as their new leader.

Macron said the move would allow all parties involved to have “some more weeks” to discuss “key elements” of the reform.

Reforming France’s costly and complicated pension system was a key election pledge for Macron when he first came to power in 2017. But his initial proposals infuriated the unions and provoked weeks of protests and transport strikes just before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

He put the initiative on hold as he ordered France into lockdown in early 2020, but after his re-election this year he said he wanted to bring about a new, less ambitious reform bill before Christmas. (Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Hugh Lawson)


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