French constitutional court approves most of Macron’s controversial pension reform bill, including the unpopular retirement age increase
By Arsenio Toledo // Apr 17, 2023

France's top constitutional court has approved most of the provisions within President Emmanuel Macron's flagship pension reform bill despite months of protests and widespread dissatisfaction, especially with the proposal to raise the retirement age.

The country's Constitutional Council approved most of Macron's pension reform provisions, including its core elements such as the increase in the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64. (Related: Over 500,000 march all over France as protests against Macron's plan to raise retirement age continue.)

Six provisions within the pension reform proposal were rejected as not being fundamental to the essence of the bill, including a proposal to force major corporations to publish data on how many people over 55 they employ and a proposal to create a special contract to encourage companies to hire back people in their 60s. But these provisions can still be adopted in separate legislation if Macron's government wishes to do so.

In its deliberations, the Constitutional Council said it took into consideration the fact that the French constitution calls for a "solidarity policy" for retired workers, but that lawmakers are given a lot of latitude to decide on the concrete arrangements for this policy.

The court also agreed with Macron's government and its claim that raising the retirement age is vital to boosting declining employment rates and preventing the build-up of deficits in the country's massive public pension system as France's life expectancy continues to increase.

All that is left for the pension reform bill to become law is for Macron to sign it. The court has given him two weeks to enact the bill, and Macron previously indicated that he intends for the bill to go into effect in September.

Protests, opposition to pension reform continue despite court ruling

The Constitutional Council's decision no doubt represents a victory for the embattled Macron. However, opposition political groups and major trade unions opposed to the pension reform plan have vowed to continue fighting to get Macron to back down.

The country's major unions have rejected invitations from Macron to meet with him at the presidential palace no matter what the decision was. They noted that Macron himself had refused their previous offers of a meeting.

Instead of attempting to reconcile with the government, the unions have called for protests to continue and for a major protest to engulf France on May 1, International Workers' Day.

These unions have long argued that changing the retirement age disproportionately penalizes the country's less well-off citizens and that there are other options to keep France's public retirement system financially solvent, such as increasing taxes on businesses and the wealthy.

"One can't govern a country against its citizens," said Sophie Binet, the head of the far-left union, the General Confederation of Labor, during a protest organized following the court's ruling. "We are calling on the president to get away from his stubborn, obstinate dogmatism."

Binet and other union leaders later submitted a statement urging Macron not to sign the pension reform bill into law.

"Given the massive rejection of this reform, the unions request him solemnly to not promulgate this law, the only way to calm the anger, which is being expressed in the country," they wrote in a joint statement in French.

Opposition political groups in the French National Assembly, the country's lower house, were the ones who requested a Constitutional Council review of Macron's pension proposal. While their hope that the court would reject the proposal has been dashed, they also submitted two requests to the court for a referendum on keeping the retirement age of 62.

One of those requests for a referendum was rejected by the court. It will issue a ruling on the second request on May 3.

Learn more about France's ongoing battle over pension reform at

Watch this clip from Friday, April 14,  as another massive anti-Macron protest marches through the streets of Paris following the Constitutional Council's decision to uphold most of Macron's pension reform bill.

This video is from the channel Awakening on

More related stories:

Angry French protesters shift focus from pension fiasco to Macron himself – "do you know the guillotine?"

Huge strikes planned across Germany while France unravels: The European Spring has come.

Macron raises retirement age from 62 to 64, sparking riots across France.

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