After a great public outcry, the 64-year increase in the retirement age in France has been approved
The last few weeks have not been easy for Emmanuel Macron. The French president is facing the biggest protests since he took office in 2017, because of the pension reform that establishes, among other things, the increase of the retirement age from 62 to 64.
Macron also said: the change (approved on Friday by the Constitutional Council) is a step forward, whether the French people like it or not. “Some don’t want to face reality, it’s not fun, it’s not fun, [a reforma] It is important to our country. Others hide this and do not want to face real failures,” said the official on March 22, in an interview with France 2 and TF1 channels.
And the French president did not try to make efforts to achieve his goals, although he is using article 49.3 of the French constitution, which makes it possible to prevent the law approved by the parliament. For Helena Ferro Gouveia, commentator for CNN Portugal, the use of this machine by the French president is “acceptable”, and the principles of the head of state.
“If we look at the social security situation of France, we see that it will not be possible in the long run. France has the lowest birth rate in Europe, like Portugal, and one of the lowest retirement ages in Europe. Several countries in Europe, especially Germany, changed this a long time ago,” says the expert.
However, he points out the mistake of the President, the mistake that led to the gathering of the main French institutions – “something that has not happened for a long time” – and that made the left more extreme and the right more extreme: “The arrogance that gave the measure”. Ambassador Francisco Seixas da Costa , the most senior representative of the Portuguese dialogue in France between 2009 and 2013, also shows Macron’s “arrogant behavior” in parliament.
Finally the death of France
All these experts see that the French President, even if he is strongly opposed, will not be too affected by the entry of the controversial diploma. “Macron and the Prime Minister will not have easy months ahead of them, but if we look, today’s protests. [sexta-feira] they don’t get much help. I think that Macron’s bet is on the fatigue of the people, the fatigue of protesting”, says Helena Ferro Gouveia.
Francisco Seixas da Costa points to the positive signs provided by the French economy as a factor in reducing French discontent. “Interestingly, when in the midst of these difficulties the unions, especially the CGT, said ‘let’s stop France’, France did not give up. The signs from the French economy are very good. The economy left 2022 on the positive side, at the end of the year there is an idea that it can grow by approx. 1%. Unemployment, which has always been a battle in France, has fallen and stabilized, almost no one is talking about unemployment. “The idea that this year will kill Macron for the next four years is interesting but I think it will depend on the economy.”
For Seixas da Costa, the main problem is the succession of the current president, since in 2027 Macron cannot be re-elected due to the limit of two consecutive terms established by the Constitution. The ambassador suggests the names of Édouard Philippe, the prime minister, Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister, and Bruno Le Maire, who has a financial background, as possible replacements for Macron in his current political position. However, other votesalthough it is too early, it makes Marine Le Pen certain in the second round of the 2027 presidential election. “It may be that, by threatening Le Pen, macronism will find a solution”, says the ambassador.
If France fails to find a Macronist to replace Macron, and the leadership of the Republic falls into the hands of Marine Le Pen, Seixas da Costa argues. “France is disappearing, let’s be clear, France is missing as a major player in Europe”, he expects a greater distance between France and Germany, which has become a “working partnership” on which “the work of Europe depends, especially after the Treaty of Maastricht.
Helena Ferro Gouveia, although she admitted that Germany, which has “known very well the red lines of the extreme right and the extreme left”, could create “opposition” to Le Pen, describing very few events. “The Franco-German alliance has many events that do not depend on the Chancellor or the President of France, there are ways to unite the two countries that continue to work regardless of the relationship between the Chancellor and the President of France.”
Like Francisco Seixas da Costa, the expert writes the names of Philippe, Le Maire and Darmanin to have a great opportunity and says that, although they do not have the same influence as the current president, this quality cannot be guaranteed. “When Macron was elected there were also many doubts, his image was being built. It is a lie to think that politicians already have influence from the beginning, the same power can give. And, even if influence is certain, it is not everything in politics. Hollande came to the presidency without any influence, ” he explains. “Political actions: this is important – politics, political will and the ability to communicate with policies and explain to voters why certain measures are being taken”, he adds.
However, the commentator says that it will be difficult to have a strong man among them, because the country is “stable”. “If we look at the French party structure, it is difficult to find alternatives here because Macron managed to take a little bit of everything around him, and finish with the leftovers,” says Helena Ferro Gouveia. “The Socialist Party, which represents the center left, disappeared, disappeared. We have the Republicans, whom Macron ended up ousting, but who will eventually replace him. And we have the President’s party. But otherwise, there is nothing,” he says.