France’s Pension Reform Bill Slows Down Economy as Protests Actions Grow

France ranks as the world’s 7th largest economy and the third top ranking European country right after Germany and the United Kingdom. While the country recorded an estimated GDP revenue of $2.63 trillion in 2022, a decline begun transpiring in the second half of 2022 in light of the pension reform introduced by President Macron during the year.

As a result, protest actions have been taking place, which continue to slow down investment, whilst eroding consumer confidence. In 2023, investment is expected to remain sluggish, amidst the growing protest actions against the pension reform that took effect in January 2023.

Following the promulgation of the pension reform bill implemented by the Macron administration, the nation has been seeing a wave of social unrest. The occurrences have been weighing down heavily on the nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

A series of protests has been taking place nationwide in France, participated in by over 1 million demonstrators opposing the Borne government’s pension reform bill. Many protesters walked along railway lines to block all train traffic for at least an hour.

Several labor unions joined the protest actions at the national railway company SNCF, which disrupted train traffic that affected regional lines.

What Exactly is the Pension Reform Bill Implemented by the Macron Administration under the Borne Government?

The pension reform in France, took effect in January 2023, and increased the retirement age of the country’s workforce from 62 years old to 64 years old. President Macron contends that the country needs to keep its pension system afloat in light of the aging workforce population.

Yet opponents of the bill and union members argue that instead of extending the age by which workers can retire, the government should instead obligate wealthy taxpayers and/or major corporations to pitch in, in helping solve the pension crisis. Increasing the retirement age merely erodes the country’s social safety net.