French debate legal retirement age

Published on 26 May 2010 at 12:22

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"There is one word we ought to ban from debate on the issue of retirement at sixty years of age: and that word is taboo," which is used to portray "the defenders of social progress as a primitive tribe in thrall to an ancient idol," remarks Libération. At a time when the government is negotiating a pension reform package with France’s unions, the newspaper focuses on a recent interview with the Minister for Labour, who insists that "something must be done" about the legal retirement age in the country, which has been set at age 60 since 1983. The left-wing daily is convinced that any increase in retirement age "would have an immediate impact on the lives of workers and low-wage earners, who still have a shorter life expectancy than their more fortunate fellow citizens." At the same time, Libération’s conservative rival Le Figaro warns that France’s retirement age is now the lowest in Europe: with French workers retiring a full seven years earlier than their counterparts in Sweden and Germany who retire at age 67.

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