Controversial pension reform bill is approved in France

My report for CGTN Europe online

The controversial pension reform bill in France, which has brought tens of thousands of people out in protests for the past seven weeks, has been approved by the cabinet.

The controversial pension reform bill in France, which has brought tens of thousands of people out in protests for the past seven weeks, has been approved by the cabinet.

It will now go to the committee stage in parliament before MPs get their chance to debate the proposals from the middle of next month.

The social security minister, Agnes Buzyn, said: “It’s clear that the rebuilding of the pension system is socially and democratically essential.

“This new universal system aims to create equality for all the French and all generations, to simplify and clarify, and to put in place a system controlled by democratic decisions allowing it to be responsibly managed.”

The meeting took place as tens of thousands of people were gathering in the center of Paris as well as many other French cities for another day of mass demonstrations against the pension reforms.

However, these hardcore opponents are increasingly a minority, with polls showing that a majority of the French think ministers struck a reasonable compromise.

The police were out in heavy numbers in Paris on Friday as the approved route for the march wound through much of the historic center of the French capital, leaving many tourists bemused as the demonstrators filed along the cobbled avenues past the Louvre museum.

Despite the venerable setting on the banks of the Seine river, many of the protesters repeated the same simple message – that their determination to continue to protest has not been dimmed.

Veronique, a teacher, told CGTN: “We are not going to change our position, because we believe in our demands, we believe in our message. We are still coming out here in the street even though it is cold and we’ve been here protesting for a long time now.”

Georges, who works on the Paris metro, said: “People in the street are sick and tired because this government doesn’t want to listen. President Macron travels and gives lessons abroad but he should be more concerned about his people in France.”

Despite the pressure being brought by the unions, the bill will now go to parliament, where President Macron’s party has a big majority.

But demonstrators say they will continue to head to the streets in defiance of the government, with one union saying they are already drawing up plans for three more days of nationwide demonstrations starting next week.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s