Macron will defend France’s pension plan on national television

PARIS – President of France Emmanuel Macron to explain how he will seek to overcome tensions over his plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 in his first nationally televised appearance since his government forced through a bill amid mass protests.

Macron is expected to endorse his government on Wednesday, two days after that survived two votes of no confidence in the lower house of parliament.

The 45-year-old French president has repeatedly stated that he is convinced that the pension system needs to be changed in order to keep it funded.

His decision last week to use special constitutional powers to push the bill through the legislative process without a vote angered many in parliament and across the country.

Since then, mostly small scattered protests held every day in cities across France, some degenerating into violence, including in Paris.

Dock workers in Marseille blocked access to the city’s commercial port – France’s largest – on Wednesday, preventing trucks and cars from entering amid a heavy police presence.

Garbage was still piling up on some streets in Paris as sanitation services began their 17th day of strike. In recent days, authorities have issued an order requiring some garbage workers to provide “minimum services” for health reasons.

Oil supplies in the country were partially disrupted due to strikes at several refineries in the west and south of France. The most affected by the shortage of gas stations in the south-eastern region of the country.

Unions called for new nationwide protests and strikes on Thursday to demand the government simply withdraw the pension bill. Disruptions to high-speed and regional trains, the Paris Metro and other public transport are expected in major cities.

The pension bill still needs to be reviewed by the Constitutional Council before it comes into effect.

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