March 26, 2023

The tension rose another notch on Monday between the executive and the opposition on the pension reform, debated in the National Assembly and deemed “indispensable” by Emmanuel Macron, on the eve of a new day of mobilization in the streets.

Traveling to The Hague, President Macron defended his reform, “essential when we compare ourselves in Europe” and in order to “save our system” by distribution.

For her part, Elisabeth Borne urged her majority to “carry” the reform, “both by defending our project and by not letting untruths spread”, according to participants in the executive office of the presidential Renaissance party.

The flagship project of the five-year term arrived on the table of the Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee on Monday, the first stage of a complex parliamentary journey. Hectic and laborious, the discussions dragged on until the vote on the first article, on the gradual disappearance of several special pension schemes.

“Come to the picket lines” to assess the hardship of these professions, invited Danielle Simonnet (LFI), while the presidential majority defended a principle of “equity between regimes”.

“If we cut your juice for 2-3 hours in your hotlines, I don’t want to hear you cry”, launched the communist Sébastien Jumel, during the debate on the regime of the electricity and gas industries, under the protests of the macronists.

– “Popular censorship” –

Gauche and RN pounded the words of Elisabeth Borne who had estimated on Sunday that the postponement of the legal age of departure to 64 was “no longer negotiable”.

“When the Prime Minister says something, she says it with good reasons and I support her,” defended Emmanuel Macron in The Hague.

On Monday, the leader of the LFI deputies, Mathilde Panot, replied that “the withdrawal of the text is not negotiable”. Tuesday’s protests will be a “popular censure motion”, she added.

In Marseille, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, once again criticized LFI for “messing up” the debate to “systematically prevent the government from moving forward”.

After the mobilization of January 19, which saw one to two million people demonstrate against the reform, the unions hope to do at least as well, supported by polls attesting to a growing rejection in public opinion.

On France 2, the secretary general of the CFDT, Laurent Berger, considered that Ms. Borne “(could) not remain deaf to this formidable mobilization which has been created”.

The strike promises to be very popular at school – 50% of teachers, from kindergarten to high school, according to the unions – and in transport.

Air France will cancel one in ten short and medium-haul flights, but long-haul routes will not be affected. In the Paris region, metro and RER traffic will be “very disrupted”, according to the RATP.

A source in the intelligence services expects 1.2 million demonstrators at the national level “in the high range, including 100,000 in Paris, with 240 processions or rallies planned”.

Eleven thousand police and gendarmes will be mobilized everywhere in France on Tuesday, including 4,000 in Paris, to supervise the demonstrations, announced Gérald Darmanin, who expressed the wish that the protests take place “under the same conditions, without serious incident”, as the previous mobilization.

– In session on February 6 –

The left curries a text “solitary, unjust and unjustified” even “anti-women”. In response, LFI presented Monday afternoon its “counter-project” which provides in particular for retirement at age 60 with 40 annuities, and a pension of at least 1,600 euros for all full careers.

RN deputies fight the postponement of the age, but reserve their forces for the hemicycle.

For its part, the right, whose votes are crucial for the text to be adopted, is raising the stakes. The LRs have requests for women with chopped careers, for those who started working at the age of 20, on family rights or even a postponement of the entry into force of the reform.

The presidential majority is not to be outdone, but has been asked to curb its ardor to maintain the financial balance of the reform. The idea of ​​stronger constraints around the employment of seniors in large companies is however gaining ground at Renaissance.

The demonstrators, “it’s the French people. We cannot say: + we will not take it into account +”, was annoyed on France 5 the MoDem deputy Richard Ramos, who refuses to vote on the text as it is.

Whether or not it is adopted in committee, the draft will be presented in session on 6 February. Two weeks of discussions are scheduled in the hemicycle.


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