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France’s Constitutional Council rejects bid for pension referendum

Macron has overcome weeks of violent demonstrations and union opposition by increasing the retirement age from 64 to two years. He passed the law through parliament without final voting.

In a release to the press, the council said that the referendum proposal failed to meet the legal criteria set forth by the Constitution.

In an attempt to halt this reform, opposition lawmakers have twice approached the Constitutional Council since Macron bypassed parliament. Each time, they sought its approval for a referendum on the retirement age.

The council’s role was to determine if the opposition’s demands met the legal requirements of a referendum.

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First, the first attempt had already been rejected in part due to the fact that pension laws were not yet enacted. The referendum proposal had no impact on the law.

Macron says that the French must work harder to avoid a budget deficit of billions of euros every year in the next decade.

The French social protection system is built on the foundation of the pension system. The unions say that money can be found elsewhere, for example by taxing the rich more heavily.


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Unions and the opposition will focus now on a day of national protests scheduled for 6 June. This is just two days before lawmakers debate a motion by the opposition that would annul pension law.

Only 36% of people retire at age 62, despite the emphasis on retirement age. A further 36% of retirees are those who have to pay into the system more to receive the full pension.

OECD data, however, shows that French pensions are higher as a proportion of earnings prior to retirement.

Opinion polls show that a majority of voters are against the new law.

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