Ryan invites French President Macron to address Congress

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After British Prime Minister Theresa May met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in the margin of the European Union leaders' summit in Brussels, a spokesperson of Downing 10 said in a statement that May provided her counterparts with a detailed update on the investigation into the case.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is inviting French President Emmanuel Macron to address a joint meeting of Congress next month.

Besides, railway staff members would also join the Thursday demonstration before flagging off their strikes on two days out of every five between April 3 and June 28 till the time President Macron retreats with his reform plans.

The public sector's worries include the government's plans to cut public sector workers by 120,000 by 2022, including with voluntary redundancies.

The strikes saw transport cancellations, some schools and creches closed, as well as limits on some services such as libraries and rubbish collection.

The four unions planning the strikes also are angered by the government's decision to impose the changes by decree.

For its part, the French government says that it will maintain "a listening attitude but also a great determination to continue the reforms".

A railway worker lights a flare during a demonstration to protest against French government reforms on March 22, 2018, in Paris.

In Paris, protesters denounced Macron's proposals to trim some retirement benefits, overhaul unemployment insurance and shake up the highly indebted state-run rail company SNCF, with many chanting: "Together, let's derail Macron!"

"We agree that we need to make changes to public services, but not to restrain them".

"We have therefore introduced a more flexible rebooking policy to help customers travel on alternative dates and avoid the strike action".

The main axis of protest were the railroad reform and the transformations planned in the public sector, also including pensioners opposed to the hike in taxes and students who demanded the repeal of new laws to enter universities.

In general, the mobilization could have an important economic cost for the coffers of the SNCF, in fact, the company already suspended the sale of tickets for April days included in the strike calendar.

Although a majority of voters back the strike, an even bigger majority back the reforms, including cuts to the number of public sector workers and the introduction of merit-based pay, according to opinion polls.

More than 140 protests have been planned across France in total, with the biggest of them set to take place at the Bastille monument in central Paris in the afternoon, where unions expect 25 000 demonstrators.