On Saturday evening, with 195 votes in favor and 112 against, the French senate approved President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reform plan.
The main provision of this draft law is the increase of the retirement age from 62 to 64 years.
The upper house of the French parliament voted for the reform after a seventh day of nationwide protests against the plan. The majority of citizens are against the proposed reform, according to public opinion polls.
The draft law is expected to be reviewed on March 15 by the joint committee of representatives of the lower and upper chambers of the parliament.
If the committee agrees on the text, a final vote in both houses could take place on Thursday, but the outcome of the vote remains uncertain in the lower house, the National Assembly, where Macron’s party needs the votes of allies to form a majority.
If the Government considers that there are not enough votes in the lower house, it is possible to push the text forward without a parliamentary vote.
Macron’s centrist alliance lost its parliamentary majority last year, but still constitutes the most important group in the National Assembly.
Otherwise, the Government can use a special competence to pass the law without a vote, but such an action would come at the price of great criticism.
The government aims to pass the bill by the summer so that the changes come into effect in September.
Strikes and other protests across the country are planned for Wednesday, March 15, when the bill is expected to be considered.
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France has the lowest state pension eligibility age among major European economies.
The average pension is 1,400 euros per month, after taxes are deducted.
The government has said that the changes are necessary to guarantee the future of the financing of the pension system, which is expected to go into deficit in the coming years – due to the aging of the population./REL