Paris CNN --
After months of protests, strikes and mass garbage accumulation in Paris' streets due to the transport system being halted and the accumulation of trash on the roads of Paris, France has now passed a law that makes changes to its pension system. These changes are not popular and have caused a lot of controversy.
The French Constitutional Council (which has a similar role as the US Supreme Court) approved in April the controversial part of reform, the increase of retirement age from 64 to 62.
Despite this decision, powerful unions in France say they will continue to fight. On Monday, more protests are expected. It is unclear whether the anger that has erupted will continue to plague Macron for the remainder of his tenure in office or if it will disappear.
All you need to Know
Why is it such a big thing for the French?
Political scientist Dominique Moisi said that for the French, it was not the age at which they retire, but the balance of work and life.
France has been grappling with pension reform for a long time. In 1995, mass protests lasting for weeks forced the then-government to abandon reform plans of public pensions. In 2010, millions of people took to the street to protest the raising of the retirement age to 62 years old.
Pascal Perrineau, of Sciences Po University, said: 'Each project is passed by the public little by little, and in essence, it is accepted.
Many in France view the French pension system as a cornerstone of the relationship between the state and its citizens.
In a country that has played an active role in maintaining a certain level of living, the post-World War II system established rights to health care and a pension funded by the state. These rights have been guarded with vigilance ever since.
The way Macron forced through the reforms, bypassing a vote in parliament, has sparked as much anger as their content.
I don't believe we've ever seen such rage and hatred towards our president in the history the Fifth Republic. Moisi said, 'I remember when I was a student in Paris in May 1968, there was a rejection of General de Gaulle, but not that kind of personal hatred.
Why is Macron so adamant about this, even though it is unpopular?
Macron is a president who prioritizes business. His mission has been to make France more business friendly and the government more efficient.
His 2022 reelection campaign will be centered around social reforms.
Money is the biggest problem for Macron's cabinet. According to the government, the current system, which relies on working people to pay for an increasing number of retirees as they age is not fit for purpose.
Without immediate action, the deficit in pensions would be more than $13bn annually by 2027. Dussopt asked CNN affiliate BFMTV, referring to opponents of reforms: "Do they think that we can stop the deficit if we stop the reforms?"
The higher retirement age in France will still be below the average in Europe, and many other developed economies.
The state pensions are more generous in France than anywhere else. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the spending of the French state pensions in 2018 was nearly 14% more than that in other countries.
What comes next?
The Constitutional Council has decided to proceed with reforms.
The first retirees who receive their state pensions in September will now have to wait three additional months. By 2030, the retirement age is expected to reach 64 with regular and incremental increases.
The protesters will not be bowed. In the immediate aftermath, one protester told journalists that they would "fight until this reform was abandoned." One of France's biggest unions, the CGT, called for a 'historical' protest on May 1, which is a day traditionally marked by union marches.
IFOP, in partnership with Fiducial/Sud Radio, released figures showing that between January and mid-April the support for protests grew 11% despite sporadic violent incidents.
Violence, on the other hand, eroded public support during protests against fuel price hikes. The fact that these protests over pensions are still so popular is a warning sign for Macron's plans.
When Macron forced the legislation through the lower house of the legislature without a vote, the protests grew in size and intensity. Since then, only a small group of protesters have continued to do so. A much larger group has engaged in violence. Even if protests continue, the momentum has shifted now that the law is in place.
CNN reported that the Yellow Vest protests were a catalyst for anger among a majority of voters who did not choose Macron as their top choice.
He said, "Democracy on the streets is back."
What does this mean for Macron?
Macron has not yet completed his second term. He was re-elected to the presidency in 2022 and has another four years left. His position is secure, as French presidents have fixed terms.
After the reforms were passed, the government announced a series of policies that promised additional funding for public service - including nurse and teacher salaries - as well as tougher immigration and environmental measures in an attempt to win back the public's support. Macron's attempts to win back the public may already have failed.
The anger that Macron has sparked in the streets of France is not good for the chances of his party in the 2027 presidential elections.
While the unions led these protests opposition politicians, allies, and even some members of his own party came out in support.
This anger could be enough for voters to reconsider their decision to support Macron in order to stop the far right.
Moisi compared Macron's logic and rationality to that of Barack Obama's second term, which led to Donald Trump's presidency.
Perrineau warns that while Macron's reform crusade is continuing, the pensions dispute could force him to compromise more.
Perrineau stated that his tendency to be "a little imperious and impatient" can make negotiations more difficult.
He adds that this is "perhaps the limit to Macronism."