France to Lower Retirement Age to 60 for Some
France’s new Socialist government moved Wednesday to lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 years old for certain workers, bucking a global trend in a gesture to unions that critics say is a costly mistake.
Governments from North America to Europe have been pushing retirement ages higher and higher in recent decades, as people live longer and spend more years on state-sponsored pension checks.
New French President Francois Hollande, who won election last month on a wave of voter anger at austerity measures, proved Wednesday that his leftist campaign rhetoric was not just bluster.
Raising France’s legal retirement age was one of conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s key reforms, aimed at reducing heavy government debts as Europe sunk into a continent-wide financial crisis.
The reform met huge, nationwide protests - yet many economists said it didn’t push the retirement age high enough.
The minimum retirement age went from 60 to 62, and the age to receive a full pension regardless of how many years you pay into the system went from 65 to 67.