As pension protests rage, French President Macron is caught pulling off a luxury watch in an interview
As French protests against its unilateral reform of the national pension system continue, President Emmanuel Macron was caught taking a misstep during an interview.
At the origin of the ongoing protests, two reforms that Mr Macron passed without a parliamentary vote: raising the minimum retirement age by two years, from 62 to 64, and the planned increase in service time necessary to receive a full pension from age 41 to age 43.
Before and after images from Wednesday’s interview compiled on Twitter show Mr Macron with and without his personalized Bell & Ross BR V1-92 watch, which can cost upwards of $3,500 without personalization. Some on social media had claimed the watch cost over $80,000.
The watch can be heard hitting the table, and Mr Macron’s team argues the watch was removed in order to stop the sound.
Mr Macron’s political opponents immediately picked up on the symbolism of the failed sleight of hand, particularly the left-wing La France Insoumise party.
Citing-tweeting a video of Mr Macron removing the watch, La France Insoumise parliamentarian Farida Amrani wrote “The president of the rich has never lived up to his name so well”.
According #Macron the smicards have never seen their purchasing power increase so much!
At the same time, the President hides his watch, the price of which is much higher than the monthly salary of a smicard
The President of Wealth has never lived up to his name so well
— Farida Amrani (@Farida_Amrani_) March 23, 2023
For his part, Mr Macron argues that the reforms are financially necessary.
“Do you think I like doing this reform? No,” Mr. Macron said in the interview on Wednesday, according to CNBC.
The French right has also expressed dissatisfaction with the course of centrist Mr Macron.
“It’s a political crisis. It’s a total failure for the government and Emmanuel Macron personally, and the government must be sanctioned. It has lost the confidence of this assembly and the population,” said the leader of the National Rally. , Marine Le Pen, in front of parliament on March 16 during the adoption of the reforms, according to the Financial Times.
Protest actions in France have postponed a planned state visit by the British monarch, King Charles III. The monarch’s visit to Germany, initially planned after his stay in France, will continue; it will be the royal’s first visit to Europe as king.