Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
⏰ React to the Market Faster with Custom, Real-Time News Get Started

Anger as French government pushes through pension change without vote

Stock Markets Mar 17, 2023 03:47AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
5/5 © Reuters. Members of parliament of the left hold placards and sing the Marseillaise, French national anthem, as French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne arrives to deliver a speech on pensions reform bill at the National Assembly in Paris, France, March 16, 2023. The 2/5

By Elizabeth Pineau and Ingrid Melander

PARIS (Reuters) -French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne used a special procedure to push an unpopular pensions bill through the National Assembly without a vote on Thursday, triggering boos and shouts of "Resign!" in rare chaotic scenes in the French parliament.

The move will ensure the bill raising the retirement age by two years to 64 - which the government says is essential to ensure the pension system does not go bust - is adopted after weeks of protests and fractious debate.

But it also shows President Emmanuel Macron and his government failed to garner a majority in parliament, in a blow to the centrist president and his ability to win support from other parties for further reforms.

Borne was greeted by boos and jeers as she arrived in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, to announce that she would invoke article 49.3 of the constitution to skip a vote on the reform measures.

The session was suspended for two minutes after left-wing lawmakers singing the national anthem prevented Borne from speaking. Some held placards reading "No to 64 years".

When the session resumed, Borne took the floor but her speech was largely drowned out by the same boos and chants.

"We cannot gamble on the future of our pensions, this reform is necessary," Borne told lawmakers, to explain why she was using the 49.3 procedure.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said Borne should resign. "This last-minute resort to 49.3 is an extraordinary sign of weakness," she said, adding: "She must go."

Asked about a possible resignation in an interview with the TF1 television evening news, Borne said she still had a lot of work ahead of her: "There is the energy crisis, the climate crisis and the Ukraine war is continuing," she said.

As she spoke, a spontaneous and unplanned protest of about 7,000 people against the reform continued into the night on the Place de la Concorde in Paris, across the river Seine from parliament.

Police fired tear gas and charged in an effort to disperse the crowd, as some protesters threw cobble stones. In several other French cities including Marseille there were also spontaneous protests against the reform.

French unions called for another day of strikes and action against the reform on Thursday March 23.


Opinion polls show that a vast majority of voters oppose the pension reform, as do trade unions, who say there are other ways to balance the accounts, including taxing the wealthy more.

The government's use of the 49.3 procedure is likely to further enrage unions, protesters and left-wing opposition parties who say the pension overhaul is unfair and unnecessary.

Socialist Party head Olivier Faure told Reuters earlier on Thursday that such a move could unleash "uncontrollable anger" after weeks of rolling strikes and protests that have hit power production, blocked some shipments from refineries and seen garbage pile up on the streets of Paris.

"We're as determined as ever," said CGT unionist Christophe Jouanneau at a refinery on strike in the western France city of Donges. "From next week on, we will take things up a gear."

Opposition parties said they would request a vote of no confidence in the government, which will be voted on in the coming days, possibly on Monday.

That is unlikely to pass as most conservative lawmakers would not be expected to back it - unless a surprise alliance of MPs from all sides is formed, from the far-left to the far-right and including the conservatives.

The government had initially said the reform would allow the system to break even by 2030, with 17.7 billion euros in additional annual contributions coming from pushing back the retirement age and extending the pay-in period.

It says the accounts will still be balanced in that timeframe, with additional income compensating measures agreed by Macron's camp to try to get LR's support, including a softener for those who started to work early and a top-up for some working mothers.

Anger as French government pushes through pension change without vote

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your profile, will be public on and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email