March 15 marks the eighth day of mobilization against the pension reform. While most sectors of the public service have renewed the strike since March 7, the Senate voted on Saturday March 11 the entire text of the pension reform. The garbage collectors’ unions have notably affirmed to renew their strike until Monday, March 20. All sectors are therefore mobilized against this reform and intend to extend their protest until the text is deleted.

Nevertheless, on the government side, we do not seem to want to hear the anger of the French. Indeed, if the debates in the Senate have accelerated, it is because Olivier Dussopt, Minister of Labor, has mobilized Article 44.3 of the Constitution. This allows the government to have the entire reform voted on in the Senate instead of having it voted on article by article.

This use of section 44.3 could be a precursor to section 49.3 by the government. At the time of mobilization of this text by Olivier Dussopt, President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Rishi Sunak, British Prime Minister. During the Franco-British summit, several points were discussed, including the strengthening of law enforcement at the border to prevent exiles from reaching the other side of the Channel. This new agreement to fight against illegal immigration has led them to deploy “500 additional agents” as reported by FranceInfo.

This agreement is not the only one to have animated this summit. Indeed, between two discussions, Emmanuel Macron returned to the pension reform. The president claims not to rule out the use of a 49.3. Indeed, during this press conference where he was questioned about the mobilizations in progress, he speaks of a reform which must come to “its end” in Parliament, as reported by La Dépêche. Behind this statement, wouldn’t he already hide the mobilization of a 49.3?

This first insinuation by Emmanuel Macron also seemed to be a reaction to the fear of the reliability of Les Républicains deputies. Initially showing clear support for the government, they now seem divided on the issue. Indeed, LR senators and LR deputies are divided. If the majority in the Senate voted for the pension reform, this choice seems more complicated on the side of the lower house. Some think they are not voting, and others are totally against it, such as the elected LR, Aurélien Pradié.

For these reasons, Wednesday, March 15 brings together today the joint joint committee composed of seven senators and seven deputies. The objective for the government would be to rally the elected LR to ensure a vote in favor of the adoption of the pension reform. Nevertheless, rumors would circulate about a possible Council of Ministers Thursday morning, at the time of the vote in the Senate, and before the vote of the National Assembly. Why would this Council, originally held on a Wednesday, take place this Thursday? And, what do these rumors say about using a 49.3?

As a reminder, Article 49.3 of the Constitution allows the government to pass a law without it being voted on. Before being able to mobilize it, the government is obliged to organize a Council of Ministers to reach an agreement. Initially scheduled for Wednesday, this would be postponed to Thursday so as not to seem to put pressure on the joint committee taking place on March 15.

Questioned by BFMTV on March 14, Charles de Courson, centrist deputy of the Freedom Independents, Overseas and Territories (LIOT) group, affirms that “it is rumored that there will be an exceptional Council of Ministers on Thursday morning”. This would take place at the same time as the Senate vote which takes place at 9 a.m., but for which the government “has no concerns” according to him.

Olivier Véran said last Wednesday that “there are no plans to provide a 49.3 in the Council of Ministers”, according to comments reported by BFMTV. This Tuesday, Charles de Courson says it could be a government strategy. “Some good minds think that the government is saying this to clear itself of its appeal”. According to this MP, who strongly opposes this reform, this would allow the government to “say ‘I didn’t want […] but I was forced to'”.

According to some deputies, it would therefore be possible that this Council of Ministers is the harbinger of a 49.3. Answer Thursday evening.