French government will not ‘give in to violence’, says Macron

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French President Emmanuel Macron has strongly condemned the violence that erupted during Thursday’s protests against raising the retirement age in France and said he would not back down.

“We will not give in to violence, I condemn violence in the strongest possible terms,” ​​Macron said at a press conference after a European summit in Brussels on Friday.

Macron is under pressure to find a way out of a crisis that has seen some of France’s worst street violence in years over a pensions bill he pushed through parliament without a vote.

The strikes have caused widespread disruption in France, but Macron has promised the government will continue the “democratic process” to legalize the reform, which is currently being considered by France’s highest constitutional authority.

“The pension reform is before the Constitutional Council and it is obvious that we will wait for the decision of the Constitutional Council,” Macron said. “We continue to move forward, France cannot be at a standstill.”

The Head of State also said he was ready to meet with union leaders once the Constitutional Council has taken its decision on the pension reform bill.

“I indicated our availability to move forward on subjects such as professional decline, career endings, retraining, career development, working conditions and remuneration in certain sectors,” he said. .

“I am at the disposal of the joint unions if they wish to come and meet me to make progress on all these subjects.”

With protests expected to continue into next week, a planned state visit to France by Britain’s King Charles III has been postponed.

>> Charles III’s state visit to France postponed due to pension reform unrest

“I think we would not be serious and would lack common sense to propose to His Majesty the King and the Queen consort to come and make a state visit in the midst of the demonstrations,” Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

The French president said the visit would be rearranged for early summer.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


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