– A large majority of French oppose raising the legal retirement age, an opinion poll published by Les Echos newspaper showed, which could be an issue for President Emmanuel Macron, who has made that a key proposal as he seeks re-election this month.
Macron has proposed pushing the legal age at which one can receive a full pension to 65 from 62.
The far-right’s Marine Le Pen would bring it down to 60 for some workers and the hard-left’s Jean-Luc Melenchon for all. Conservative Valerie Pecresse and far-right Eric Zemmour, who are lower in the polls, would also have people retire later.
Macron has long been seen by opinion polls as being on a safe track to re-election, but the boost received for his active diplomacy over Ukraine has been fading and Le Pen has been narrowing the gap.
According to the survey, carried out from Monday to Wednesday, 70% of respondents were opposed to raising the retirement age, half of whom were “very opposed”.
Instead, the Elabe poll, which assessed 1,531 people for French daily Les Echos, Radio Classique and the Institut Montaigne, found that 63% of respondents favoured higher taxes for richer households to bolster the pension system.
Macron, when he belatedly entered the election campaign, said he would increase the retirement age, cut taxes and further loosen labour market rules, seeking a mandate to press on with pro-business reforms.
Stressing his pro-business credentials is not without risk as households feel the squeeze from rising prices, but Macron said he wanted to see through a reshaping of the economy.
Even if, as polls still expect, Macron does win a second mandate, the issue of pension reform, which dogged his first mandate, could be a problem, considering how widespread the opposition is.