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Macron’s Pension Reform: French People Resigned to Controversial Bill Passing Despite Protests

President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform proposal, which would raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 64 and extend contributions for a full pension, has been a contentious issue since it was first proposed in 2017.[0] Despite polls showing that a majority of French people do not want the retirement age to change, Macron has stood by the reforms and the French Senate voted in favor of the motion on Saturday.[1]

Surveys have revealed that as many as 70% of French citizens are against the proposed changes; however, an Ifop survey indicated that 71% of the population is resigned to the bill's eventual passage. In the same survey, 56% of those surveyed thought that protesters and strikers were justified in causing France to come to a halt in the days leading up to the Thursday election.[2]

On Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron of France utilized a special clause of the nation's constitution to go against Parliament and raise the pension age, intensifying the leader's quarrel with demonstrators and opposition legislators. President Macron will use executive fiat to push through his unpopular pension reform that will raise the French retirement age to 64, effectively bypassing the lower house of parliament.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have poured into the streets, piling pressure on President Emmanuel Macron to ditch his pension overhaul.[3] On Wednesday, lawmakers from the Senate and National Assembly are set to hold a small-group meeting to find a compromise on the pensions revamp.[4] Should they come to a consensus, the legislation could be approved on Thursday.[4]

Élisabeth Borne, France's Prime Minister, declared the action to be a “decisive step to bring about a reform that will ensure the future of our pensions.” towards reforming pensions and ensuring their future. She shared her thoughts on Twitter.[1] Despite this, the public did not agree, leading to seven days of large-scale protests and labor strikes in France against the pension reform.[1] The government spokesperson Olivier Véran, and the minister for Parliament Relations have both said: “We do not want 49.3.”[5]

The fate of Macron’s pension reform proposal remains uncertain as the country waits for the outcome of the crucial vote. With opinion polls suggesting that two-thirds of French people oppose the reforms, the implications of the bill passing could have seismic and long-term repercussions for Macron’s second term.

0. “Macron's bypasses parliament to raise retirement age with executive powers” The Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2023,

1. “French Senate passes unpopular pension reforms despite mass protests” The Week, 12 Mar. 2023,

2. “France faces another day of strikes ahead of key vote on pension reforms” The Guardian, 14 Mar. 2023,

3. “Protests Erupt in France Over Plan to Raise Retirement Age” The Wall Street Journal, 15 Mar. 2023,

4. “French Senate adopts pension reform as street protests continue” POLITICO Europe, 12 Mar. 2023,

5. “French Senate approves pension reform plan ahead of National Assembly vote” RFI English, 16 Mar. 2023,

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