France’s Senate approves pension reform in first reading
Paris France’s Senate voted in favor of the government’s controversial pension reform in its first reading. 195 senators voted for the text of the law on Sunday night, 112 rejected it and 37 abstained. The majority of senators had already voted in favor of a corresponding article on reform in the draft law on Thursday night, and the entire proposal for pension reform has now been accepted. Even if the vote in the heated dispute over the reform is a success for France’s center-government, the project is not yet done.
The government under President Emmanuel Macron wants to gradually raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 years. In addition, the number of payment years required for a full pension should increase more quickly.
Currently, the retirement age is 62 years. In fact, retirement begins later on average: those who have not paid in long enough to be entitled to a full pension work longer. At the age of 67 there is then a pension without deductions, regardless of how long it has been paid in – the government wants to keep this. She wants to increase the monthly minimum pension to around 1,200 euros.
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The government is sending the reform through parliament in an accelerated process. The text was therefore passed to the Senate without a first-reading vote on the entire reform in the National Assembly. A commission of MPs and senators is scheduled to meet on Wednesday to find a compromise between the National Assembly and the Senate. Both chambers of Parliament must then agree.
The center government does not have an absolute majority in the National Assembly. She is hoping for the votes of the conservative Républicains for the reform. While the conservatives in the Senate now agreed, the faction in the lower house was recently divided. There is therefore speculation as to whether the government will resort to a special article in the constitution and ultimately push the law through without a vote by the National Assembly.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the country protested against the pension reform on Saturday. The Interior Ministry put the number of demonstrators at 368,000. Union members, on the other hand, had expected up to a million people. On Tuesday, 1.28 million people took part in the protests. The unions called for further demonstrations and strikes on Wednesday.