Macron defends the pension plan in dispute, despite the pressure of the marathon strike

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And he repeated the word "responsibility,quot;, which has come to represent a red flag for many unions; For Mr. Macron's government, it means that people must work longer, and the retirement age will increase effectively from 62 to 64 for many. With the decrease in the proportion of workers and retirees, officials argue that the pension system cannot avoid a paralyzing deficit unless working lives are lengthened.

“I know that change often bothers. But fear should not mean inaction, "Macron said." There is much to do. "

Macron remained vague on important points, some analysts said. "He said," find an agreement, "but he didn't say where to give ground," said Chloé Morin, an expert in public opinion at the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, a group of experts from Paris.

"He is cultivating a posture, a position, of determination," he said, noting that Macron delivered his speech on Tuesday night standing, in contrast to the sitting position of his predecessors.

However, in practice, Mr. Macron has been giving small concessions to different professional groups throughout the month, perhaps indicating that larger concessions could be possible. For the police, he partially eliminated the older retirement age. For railway and subway workers, it is allowing a further start with the new system. Airline pilots may retire at age 60. The Paris Opera dancers, who can retire at age 42, will continue under the current pension system, except those hired after 2022.

"They have been accumulating concessions," Morin said, noting that this strategy could be perceived as a renunciation of the larger project.

In any case, these commitments have not calmed the atmosphere of confrontation with the unions, which in recent days have accused the French government of letting the situation worsen to turn public opinion against the strikers. Macron's ministers in turn accused unions of relying on a strategy of intimidation to maintain their rank and file online.