The state visit of King Charles III. in France has been postponed because of the protests there against the pension reform. The Élysée Palace announced this on Friday. A new date for the visit has not yet been set. Originally, Charles was due to come to France from Sunday to Wednesday on his first foreign visit as Britain's king. He is expected in Germany from March 29th.
In France, the dispute over President Emmanuel Macron's pension reform has escalated for a few days. Spontaneous protests result in riots and violence every evening. According to the Interior Ministry, more than a million people took part in a day of strikes and protests on Thursday. The union CGT spoke of 3.5 million participants. Trains and flights were cancelled, oil depots were blocked. More than 450 people were arrested during the riots.
The unions have called for a new day of strikes and protests on Tuesday. The Élysée Palace cited this as a reason for postponing Charles' visit. The French and British governments made the decision together after a phone call from Macron and Charles on Friday morning. It should be possible to receive Charles under the conditions that correspond to the friendly relationship. There had previously been rumors in France that part of the visit program could be adjusted due to the ongoing pension protests.
There have been demonstrations against the pension reform in France since the beginning of the year. With the reform, the central government wants to avert an impending hole in the pension fund. The retirement age is to be gradually increased from 62 to 64 years. The unions consider the project unfair and brutal.
Pension reform is considered one of President Macron's key projects. The text has been approved, but is pending examination by the Constitutional Council. It is not yet clear when the instance will decide on the reform. Macron wants it to come into force by the end of the year. The dispute over the reform has significantly weakened the government.
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