In advance of protests, French PM Borne engages with the opposition and unions

After weeks of protests over pension reforms, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne is due to begin a series of meetings over the next three weeks with opposition Lawmakers, political parties, and local leaders.

Borne will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday in the wake of significant demonstrations against the pension reforms, which will raise the legal retirement age from 62 to 64.

After the government rammed the pension reforms through the lower house of parliament using Article 49.3 of the French constitution, which grants executive privilege to pass a bill without a parliamentary vote, Macron has asked Élisabeth Borne to “build a legislative platform” by getting in touch with National Assembly lawmakers.

The most recent use of the tactic resulted in two no-confidence votes, one of which the administration narrowly survived by nine votes, and a raging response in the streets.

Giving the French people answers
Borne stated on Sunday that she was willing to speak with unions and that she would meet with opposition leaders early in the next month.

Borne stated in an interview with AFP that she will stop using Article 49.3 for purposes other than budgetary ones.

Borne has made 11 uses of the contentious constitutional provision since taking office as prime minister in May of last year.

When asked what would be at the top of her list in the coming weeks, she replied, “I have two objectives: to bring peace to the country in the face of these tensions, and to step up giving answers to the aspirations of the French people.”

Officers are criticized for using excessive force.
Thousands of French citizens have peacefully protested the reform every week since January.

Nonetheless, a wave of protests against the government’s reform that have occasionally turned violent—including a strike by Paris garbage collectors that left the streets littered with trash—and drawn increased media attention worldwide.

Security forces have come under fire for what some consider to be their harsh tactics in handling the protesters.

The Council of Europe declared on Friday that journalists and peaceful protestors needed to be shielded from police abuse and arbitrary detention.

Borne and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin also spoke out in defense of the police on Saturday, condemning the violence of ardent protestors.

However, she added that the legislation’s legitimacy will be determined by the Constitutional Council before the pensions reform was implemented.

Because the reform was rammed through parliament without a vote, opposition parties are hopeful the Council will rule against the government.

24) France

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