France to push back retirement age: minister

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The French government will raise the retirement age from the current 60 years, Employment Minister Eric Woerth said Wednesday without giving a specific new figure.

Asked whether the retirement age would rise, Woerth said: "It is a logical option for the government. We are going to increase the legal age (of retirement)."

The minister told LCI television that no decision on the new age limit had yet been taken, adding: "As one lives longer, it is only logical that your working life should also be longer."

Gripped by the sovereign debt crisis, many of France's European neighbours have announced massive spending cuts in a bid to curb their mounting public deficits and restore stability to the battered eurozone currency bloc.

The move to change the pension system in France has run into strong opposition.

The reduction of the minimum age for workers to receive a full state pension from 65 to 60 was in 1984 one of the key reforms of Socialist president Francois Mitterrand's government and remains cherished by the left.

Neighbouring Germany is raising its minimum age for a full state pension to 67 by the year 2029 and Berlin and many other European countries have begun large-scale budget cuts.

© 2010 AFP

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