Country Grinds to a Halt Over Proposed Change

In 2022, the French people chose President Emmanuel Macron again. He became the first leader to secure reelection in the country in decades. He crushed far-right contender Marine Le Pen for the second time in succession, winning 58.5% of the vote to her 41.5%. Yet, he had seen a significant decline in support since his first election in 2017, when he defeated Le Pen by 66.1% to 33.9%.

Even though he was reelected less than a year ago, his presidency has already been put to the test. In fact, a policy he is attempting to implement has caused a shutdown throughout the nation.

The French government proposed a plan in January to increase the age of retirement in the nation from 62 to 64 by 2030. The revamping of the pension system was one of his primary promises made when he ran for reelection. 

The ability to retire early with a full pension will be available to those who started working between the ages of 14 and 19. Anyone who suffers from a serious health condition will also be capable of getting their full pension early.

The proposition is utterly despised by both French citizens and labor groups. Similar plans put forth by Macron in 2019 sparked large-scale opposition and one of the longest transportation strikes in history.

The response has not been all that better this time. On March 7, all of the nation’s schools were shut down, trains were stopped, ports were halted, flights were postponed, refineries were not operating, and other industries were also inactive. The European country appeared to be coming to a halt, as promised, thanks to labor unions.

According to a survey, 72% of the nation backed the unions’ mobilization, and 63% thought a closure would be beneficial, according to the French website RTL.

The French Senate is presently debating the bill. Later this month, Macron hopes to pass it.




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