French PM Borne to meet opposition, unions amid pension crisis

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has said she plans to meet with opposition leaders and trade unions after weeks of protests against pension reforms.

Borne’s statement on Sunday came as demonstrations against the pension plan deteriorated into violence after the government pushed the legislation through without a final parliamentary vote.

President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out scrapping or delaying the legislation, which will raise the retirement age by two years, and has tasked his prime minister with finding new support in parliament after the government failed to find enough votes for the bill.

Borne will meet with political party leaders and also aims to restart dialogue with unions over labour issues, her office said, without mentioning the pension bill.

The prime minister added in an interview with the AFP news agency that the meetings with opposition and union leaders would take place in the week starting April 3.

Borne used Article 49.3 of the constitution to push the draft legislation through the National Assembly without a vote when it became clear the government could not be sure it had the votes required.

The protest movement has turned into the most significant domestic crisis of Macron’s second mandate, with police and protesters clashing regularly in Paris and other cities since the reform was forced through earlier this month.

Borne, who became prime minister in May of last year, has now used the 49.3 provision 11 times. But she told AFP on Sunday that from now on, she would not use it outside of financial matters.

It is unclear if the government’s attempt to draw a line under the pension crisis will calm a majority of the public hostile to the reform and demonstrators exasperated by the adoption of the legislation without a final vote.

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