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Macron ‘will not abandon’ pension reforms, but may ‘improve’ retirement age – Elysee

Macron ‘will not abandon’ pension reforms, but may ‘improve’ retirement age – Elysee
French President Emmanuel Macron is “willing to improve” some areas of the controversial pension reform plans such as the age of retirement, his office said on Wednesday.

The country has been plagued by mass protests against the proposed reforms for almost a fortnight, with strikes seriously affecting transport in particular. 

Wednesday’s comments from the president’s office are the first signs of Macron conceding ground after he and his government repeatedly refused to accede to union concerns over the sweeping reforms. 

The president “will not abandon the project, nor will he distort it, even if he is willing to improve it, through discussions with unions and within key establishments such as SNCF and the RATP,” his office was quoted as saying by AFP.

Also on rt.com Tear gas & vehicles ablaze: Paris protests against French pension reform escalate into clashes with police (VIDEOS)

The Elysee added that Macron hopes to reach agreement with unions to suspend the strikes over the Christmas and New Year period, in order to help people travel for the holidays.

As well as transport problems, some areas have also suffered power outages throughout the strikes. Members of the CGT union’s power sector branch are due to meet on Wednesday to discuss further industrial action in the coming days, including over Christmas. 

The strikes kicked off earlier this month to protest against the proposed overhaul to France’s pension system, which includes raising the retirement age and merging multiple pension plans into one. Unions say the measures are unfair and simply strip workers of their benefits.

Tuesday's protests saw police fire tear gas in cities including Paris, Nantes and Rennes, while some demonstrators in the capital lit flares and clashed with riot cops.

Also on rt.com French police fire TEAR GAS at pension reform protesters in Nantes (VIDEOS)

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