Economic Commentary

Economic Calendar

Global Economies

Global Economic Calendar

France Erupts In Riots After Retirement Age Is Increased

Riots have erupted across France and protestors are clashing with police after President Emmanuel Macron unilaterally raised the retirement age by two years to 64.

Opposition political parties are vowing to hold a no confidence vote that could bring down the government after Macron used special constitutional powers to push his plan to raise the retirement age to 64 from 62 through the lower house of Parliament without a vote.

The move has sparked outrage across France and led to violence in the streets.

The proposed pension overhaul has been met with widespread condemnation and union strikes across the nation of 68 million people since the start of this year.

In many areas of France, garbage has not been collected in months and been left to pile up on city streets.

Macron unilaterally raised the retirement age just hours before politicians were scheduled to vote on it in France’s National Assembly. There was speculation that Macron did not have the votes needed to pass the legislation in the lower house of Parliament.

Macron employed a little used article in the French Constitution to raise the retirement age to 64 on his own, causing an eruption in Parliament and out on the streets.

Macron and his Renaissance political party have argued for years that reform of the pension system is needed to sustain it over the long-term. Like many countries, France is grappling with an aging population and the fact that people are living longer today than in the past.

Macron’s government has projected an annual deficit of 10 billion euros ($10.73 billion U.S.) in France’s national pension fund between 2022 and 2032.

However, opinion polls show that a strong majority of the public oppose any changes to the public pension, especially raising the age at which people in France are eligible to collect a full government-sponsored monthly pension.

Strikes in recent months have impacted France’s transportation system, schools, oil refineries, and other sectors of the economy.

A no confidence vote in Macron’s government is expected to take place in Parliament today (March 17). However, it is not clear whether lawmakers are willing to bring down the government and trigger new elections throughout France.