Make or break for Macron? French president braves fury over pension reform

Is it one reform too many for Emmanuel Macron? France's president is braving the wrath of the street in what organisers promise is only Day One of the protest movement against his pension reform. A reform he put off during his first mandate because of Covid, but insisted he would submit again in his second term.

Why is Macron hellbent on a reform that's so unpopular it has united trade unions for the first time in more than a decade? It's a test for them and for a president who went big on state subsidies to keep the economy going through Covid and the current energy crisis, but who will not take no for an answer on what he sees as the ticking time bomb of an ageing population and a shrinking workforce to pay for existing pensions.

How best to pay for those pensions? We ask our panel how France's current retirement age of 62 compares with its neighbours. The government wants to raise it in most cases to 64. More broadly, what's fair in an age of accelerating inequality, at a time of crisis where the public more than ever needs a welfare state that's not what it used to be?

Produced by Charles Wente, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.


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