New French Greens boss hopes to sink Macron’s unpopular pensions reform

AFP - ALAIN JOCARD

After President Emmanuel Macron pledged to push through France's unpoular pensions reform bill in 2023, Greens party head Marine Tondelier told RFI street protests were the only way to scupper the policy, which would raise the legal age of retirement from 62 to 65 years.

Calling on French citizens to show "unity and solidarity" during his televised New Year speech on Saturday, Macron told the country: "This year will indeed be that of a pension reform that aims to guarantee the equilibrium of our system in the years and decades to come. We have to work more.”

For 35-year-old Tondelier – who in early December took the reins of the Greens after former leader Julien Bayou resigned over accusations of domestic abuse – those words do not characterise the President's pension reform.

"We will of course be in the streets – I’ve got my trainers ready, as have green activists – to get this reform reversed,” she told RFI on Monday.

Tondelier admitted the government's use of article 49.3 – a constitutional mechanism allowing it to side-step a parliamentary vote – meant it was unlikely the pension reform would fail.

"But if it does fail, it will be thanks to what happens on the street; that’s why it’s important to turn out for the first protests,” she said.

Trade union talks

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is to hold talks with unions on Tuesday and Wednesday this week before the pension reform bill is presented in the National Assembly on 10 January.


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