What are the scenarios to resolve the crisis in which Emmanuel Macron is involved

Although it appears inflexible, the government of President Emmanuel Macron is building bridges to find a way out of the crisis unleashed by the pension reform. (NACHO TWELVE /)

The extension of the retirement threshold, from 62 to 64 years, managed to converge all the fights in the French streets. The possibility of temporarily calming the anger unleashed by the pension reform, without the President Emmanuel Macron should go back, is the riddle that at this time keeps awake the entire political class of France. Resuming negotiations to find a way out despite the fact that the text is already in the hands of the constitutional Court.

Although the position of the Head of State is inflexible, when he has previously considered null and void any suspension to render the initiative null and void, on the other hand, the office of the Prime Minister in Matignon, extended an invitation to the inter-union to open a dialogue compass. “An extremely rare proposal, for an already historic blockade,” describes le parisien this Thursday.

laurent bergerHead of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) he repeats that it is preferable to speak of a “pause”. This union suggested that Macron suspend the reform despite its approval, believing that there is time to renew talks with the sectors that oppose it. Seek a decent way out, without winners or losers, an idea that is now followed by other trade union movements.

“We have to calm things down. And I propose that there be a time for listening, a time for dialogue, and that we leave the pension reform on hold. […] We take a break, we wait six months, if we have to name a mediator, if we can’t talk to each other, why not, but we have to give a signal to the world of work,” Berger said in a French audition.

Since then, this crisis solution proposed by the CFDT has resonated in the country’s political and institutional circles. However, the president does not back down in the face of any march or threat, as he made clear shortly before the last mobilization on March 28. Anticipating that protest, and after a Minister councilthe Head of State and his Prime Minister, Elizabeth Borne, informed Laurent Berger that his proposal for “mediation” was not necessary. The “reformist” union alternative was considered null and void.

A banner shows the displeasure with the reform of President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne.  The Head of State is inflexible, although his Head of Government opens a door for dialogue.
A banner shows the displeasure with the reform of President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne. The Head of State is inflexible, although his Head of Government opens a door for dialogue. (STEPHANE MAHE/)

For this reason, the signals for the call from Borne’s office made it clear that the first conversations since January 10 would not have the correction of the new retirement threshold on the agenda. “Both the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic have said that they are looking forward to starting discussions on the job. We know that the issue of pensions has somehow brought to light many difficulties in the world of work and they must be faced “, spokespersons from Matignon explained.

But the crisis caused by the use of 49.3 by the government, which allowed skipping the vote on the law in the National Assembly, unleashed the search for different constitutional devices to untangle such a dilemma. The objective is to study all the alternatives that at least deactivate demonstrations that are becoming more violent and radicalized. The changes in the retirement system have triggered other demands, some that come to express their fatigue in the face of democracy.

Berger himself warned: “The rocket Marine LePen has taken off; Now we have to prevent it from going into orbit.” The Secretary General warns that the conflict is turning into a democratic crisis. “There is a social anger that begins to transform into democratic anger”

To get his bill passed, the political science professor Bastien Francois recommends, in a forum of the French newspaper the worldto the President of the Republic to request a new deliberation of the law or any of its articles.

Berger, leader of the first union in France: “The Le Pen rocket has taken off;  now we have to prevent it from going into orbit
Berger, leader of the first union in France: “The Le Pen rocket has taken off; now we must prevent it from being put into orbit.” He also warns that the conflict is turning into a democratic crisis. (YVES HERMAN/)

Since the presidential veto right is not provided for in the French Constitution, unlike the United States, the only possibility for Emmanuel Macron, if he wanted to avoid the immediate enactment of the pension reform, would be to send it back for consultation to Parliament.

He article 10 of the Constitution, prescribes that before the deadline set for promulgation, the President “may request a new deliberation of the law or some of its articles from the Cortes Generales.” As the legislators wanted, “this new deliberation cannot be rejected.” This possibility has only been used on three occasions, for example in 1983 by François Mitterrand to cancel the celebration of the World’s Fair in Paris in 1989.

For the analyst who elaborates on the French newspaper, the 1958 Constitution has this “merit”. “He has planned an article that would allow the President of the Republic to unblock the situation without discrediting himself”, he writes in the French newspaper.

It is expected that the Constitutional Council set its position on April 14, according to what the magistrates announced on Wednesday. Its members can decide to validate all the text or to censor it in whole or in part. At this time, “the initiative of a consultation” is also analyzed, a Shared Initiative Referendum (RIP).

After a motion of no confidence put to a vote and rejected on March 20, 2023, some deputies began to warn of the possibility of advancing towards a referendum. This process, to exist, must bring together a tenth of the electorate and a fifth of Parliament.

The idea is not simple. The organizational conditions are very restrictive and complex, being exposed after the constitutional reform voted on July 21, 2008 by Parliament meeting in Congress. The signature of 185 parliamentarians is needed to initiate a RIP. Then, the text must be signed by 10% of the electorate, or around 4.5 million people. The deadline for collecting electoral support, by electronic means, lasts nine months from the validation of the procedure by the Constitutional Council.

Finally, the resumption of the dialogue on the reform. The inter-union hopes to finalize the meeting with the Prime Minister’s office, before a new day of mobilization against the text, on Thursday, April 6. The date of this meeting in Matignon with Elisabeth Borne, “is clearly emerging on Wednesday” April 5, he said on Wednesday night in bfmtv CFDT number 2, Marylise Léon.

“They are waiting for us at the inter-union” and “almost all the organizations have responded favorably,” he added. For León, “the challenge is to take this outstretched hand”, because “it was an aberration that neither the Prime Minister, nor the President, nor even the Minister of Labor wanted to meet with the inter-union”.

Within the CGT, the toughest sector with the government, this Wednesday voices were raised against the meeting, considering that responding to Borne’s invitation would be “a waste of time”. The union is in full congress, and on Friday the name of its new or its new general secretary must be known.

The question is what can come of this quote. Wednesday in FranceInfoLaurent Berger, insisted on his desire to put the proposal of “mediation” on the pension reform, as well as the question of the postponement of the legal retirement age to 64 years. The Minister for Relations with Parliament, Frank Riesterand the president of the parliamentary group Modem, François Bayrou, warned that this issue will not be on the menu. “The 64 years are in the text”, stressed François Bayrou, “we cannot change the line at this point”.

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