Brussels, my love? Iran's brutal repression and France's pension reform

Brussels my love breaks down European politics.
Brussels my love breaks down European politics. Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Méabh Mc Mahon
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Tune in to understand the ins and outs of European politics.


The Euronews Brussels bureau brings you its latest episode of a new talk show that aims to break down European news and politics to make it more accessible to viewers. 

This week's episode features the Swedish member of the European Parliament Abir Al-Sahlani, the associate director of the European Policy Centre Elizabeth Kuiper and the Swedish journalist Teresa Kuchler.

This week was a quiet week in Brussels, but EU foreign ministers did meet to discuss the ongoing repression against protestors in Iran and signed off on fresh sanctions against individuals they believe are responsible. They stopped short of putting the Iran Revolutionary Guards on a terror list

Swedish MEP Abir Al-Sahlani (Renew), whose picture went viral last October when she cut her hair whilst giving a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, said she had enough of the "mumbling" of the EU foreign chief Josep Borrell on the issue.

"I came to the plenary, and Josep Borrell was just mumbling another press release. I was so angry because here you have women who have no guns, they have nothing to defend themselves except the voices they had and the EU could not even respond," Abir Al-Sahlani said.

Kuiper concurred, saying that “clearly, the EU should put pressure on international actors and work via them, such as the UN, but also ensure it has works in the countries concerned".

The panel also took a look at the latest battle of President Emmanuel Macron to increase the retirement age in France after a failed attempt back in 2020. 

Macron was re-elected in April 2022 on a ticket to introduce these reforms but the whole country seems to oppose them and 2 million people were on the streets recently to tell him why. 

Here Kuiper said that the majority of EU countries have reformed their pension schemes for "good reason" — ie, to deal with Europe's aging population. She argued that protesters focus too much on the retirement age and not enough on the gender gap. 

“Since the French revolution, the pension has been the symbol of where the country is going," Teresa Kuchler meanwhile said.

Watch "Brussels, my love?" in the video player above and on Euronews all weekend.

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