Between 1 and 2 million protesters demonstrated against pension reform on Thursday, January 19, as the President of the Republic began a tour of Europe that should lead him to signing a treaty of friendship and cooperation with Spain, to announce a doubling of military credits at the end to try to demonstrate the unity of the Franco-German “locomotive” alongside Olaf Scholz during his two terms in office. The coincidence of these two events is no coincidence.
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In the spirit of Emmanuel Macron, raising the retirement age, around which he has centered his 2022 re-election campaign, aims not only to balance the pay-as-you-go pension system by trying to free up 12 billion euros by 2030. It should allow the volume of work in Sustainably boost France at a time when the country and its European allies are confronted with the return of the war on their doorstep and the Sino-American one.
A signal to the market
The background to the pension reform is as tragic as it is existential: the European Union risks being marginalized unless it reinvests quickly and massively to defend its sovereignty in defense and industry. This was announced by the President of the Republic, who has been spearheading the founding of Europe since 2017.
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What Emmanuel Macron is saying less loudly is that in order to maintain this role as custodian and trainer of the European cause, France cannot continue to widen its deficits and trail debts of almost 3,000 billion euros, increasing its vulnerability in times of interest rates . “If they are not zero, then our leeway for financing through debt, taxes or reallocating spending is too narrow to meet needs. This is the central economic problem of this five-year period and will also be that of the following ones,” notes economist Jean Pisani-Ferry in his January 19 column for Le Monde, after listing the list of urgent investments in education, health, ecological transition , reindustrialization and defense.
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Since the start of the school year in September 2022, Emmanuel Macron has been trying to get the country used to the gradual extinction of politics “at any cost”. The proclaimed “end” of “abundance” was intended to create public awareness. However, the need for protection remains so strong that the state continues to draw large checks not only to invest but also to cushion the impact of price increases on businesses and households. Against this background, pension reform seems more important than ever. It gives the European partners a hint, it sends a signal to the market: in order to continue investing, the country has found its room for maneuver, it will work more.
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