France poised to raise retirement age


Peggy Hollinger
Financial Times
May 24, 2010

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Expectations are growing that France is set to remove the right to retire at 60, as it embarks on a contentious reform of its debt-laden pension system and brings public finances back into line.

Christian Estrosi, industry minister, said on Sunday the government was “leaning towards an increase in the [retirement] age” in its talks with unions and employers’ federations, despite denials from cabinet ministers over the weekend of a decision being taken.

Although there has been much speculation that France’s legal retirement age of 60 – one of the lowest in Europe – would be abandoned, Mr Estrosi’s comments on national radio are the clearest statement yet of government intentions.

His comments are likely to give ammunition to unions planning a national strike on Thursday to protest against spending cuts and pension reforms.

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