French President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to raise the retirement age without consulting the French parliament. The plans were unveiled as part of a major reform package to help tackle the country’s growing budget deficit.
Macron said that the current system of special retirement benefits for certain professions must be ended and the retirement age should be raised from 62 to 64. The government estimates that this measure could save the French state up to €17 billion ($19.2 billion) over the next five years.
The proposal has been met with widespread criticism from trade unions and opposition parties, who argue that it would disproportionately affect low-income workers who are unable to work until they are 64. The government has said it will compensate those affected by the change and has proposed a range of measures to soften the blow, including tax breaks and additional benefits for those who choose to work beyond the current retirement age.
Macron’s decision to bypass parliament has also been heavily criticised, with some arguing that it is undemocratic. However, the government has said that the reforms must be implemented quickly and that parliamentary consultation would lead to delays.