PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron vowed Wednesday to implement a pension reform that would eventually push up the retirement age by three years to 65, making younger generations work longer.
In an interview on France 2 television, Macron said the changes would start being applied next year.
“There’s only one way to do it if we are lucid. Since we are living longer, it’s to work longer,” he said.
The minimum retirement age to get full a pension would be gradually increased from 62 now to 65 by 2031, he said.
Yet Macron said he is “open” to discuss the retirement age with unions and make potential amendments.
Such measures would apply to people who worked enough to qualify. Those who do not fulfill the conditions, like many women who interrupt their career to raise their children, must currently work until 67.
All French workers receive a state pension. Not implementing these changes would mean the government would need to decrease the size of pensions, Macron said.
Macron’s comments come after his centrist alliance lost its parliamentary majority in June, making it much more difficult for his government to get laws passed in the lower house of parliament. Most opposition parties, as well as workers unions, are opposed to the pension changes.
Macron offered Wednesday to ally with lawmakers from the conservative The Republicans party to pass domestic reforms in parliament, including the pension changes.
Earlier this week, his government survived three no-confidence votes prompted by some opposition lawmakers from the left and the far-right to protest the use of a special constitutional power to force budget bills through the National Assembly.
A proposed pension overhaul had sparked nationwide strikes and protests at the end of the year 2019 during Macron’s first term. The government had then decided to suspend the debate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Macron has been reelected for a second term in April.