Defiant Macron wants French pension reform to come into force by end of year

AFP - [email protected]
Defiant Macron wants French pension reform to come into force by end of year
French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on screens on March 23, 2023 as he speaks during a TV interview from the Elysee Palace. Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said he wanted the government's controversial pension reform to come into force by the end of the year, insisting it was "necessary" despite nationwide protests.


While France's Constitutional Court still needs to give its last word, Macron said that the reform needed to "come into force by the end of the year".

"The longer we wait, the more it (the deficit) will deteriorate. This reform is necessary, it does not make me happy. I would have preferred not to do it," he added.

The French president was speaking in a live interview with two journalists on Wednesday lunchtime, defending the controversial reform which has been the subject of weeks of strikes and demonstrations.

He added that he was prepared to accept unpopularity as a consequence of imposing the controversial pensions reform.

"Given a choice between opinion polls in the short term and the general interest of the country, I choose the general interest of the country.

"If it is necessary to accept unpopularity today I will accept it," he added, while acknowledging he had "not succeeded in convincing" the country over the reform.

You can listen to John Lichfield talk about the political crisis engulfing France in our new Talking France podcast on Spotify, Apple or Google podcasts. Download it HERE or listen on the link below.


When asked, he said he retained confidence in prime minister Elisabeth Borne, who many have speculated will shortly be replaced in her role.

"She has my confidence to lead this government team," he said in a televised interview, adding however she should now create a programme that "changes things for our compatriots in a more tangible way".


A survey on Sunday showed Macron's personal approval rating at just 28 percent, its lowest level since the height of the anti-government "Yellow Vest" protest movement in 2018-2019.

Philippe Martinez, head of the hard-line CGT union, said that Macron's comments showed "disdain for the thousands of people who have been protesting".

Socialist Party chief Olivier Faure added: "It's amazing, he is in absolute denial. I'm afraid he just put more fuel onto an already well lit fire."

Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right in parliament, said Macron had merely "reinforced the feeling of contempt" felt by the French.

There were new clashes between protesters and security forces in central Paris late on Tuesday, in a repeat of scenes over the last days that have seen hundreds arrested and accusations of heavy-handed tactics by police.

Forty-six people were arrested overnight in the latest clashes around Place de la Republique in Paris, while police used tear gas to disperse protests in other cities including Rennes and Nantes.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also