French pension reform to become law mid November: official

French pension reform to become law mid November: official


Paris : France’s fiercely-contested pensions reform bill is expected to clear parliament this week and will probably be adopted as law on 15 November, a senior advisor to President Nicolas Sarkozy said Sunday.

The bill, which increases the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62, was approved by the Senate on Friday and will now be reconciled with a version passed by the lower house before getting the final nod on Wednesday.

Following its adoption, France’s constitutional court may be asked to sign off on its legality and Sarkozy expects to be able to put it into the official gazette on 15 November, advisor Raymond Soubie told Europe 1 radio.

“This reform will pass. It’s a victory for France and the French," Soubie said, noting that recent protests against the reform had failed to paralyse public services and that labour leaders had been “quite reasonable."

Once a French law is in the “Journal Officiel" its individual measures are put into administrative practice through “decrees of application".

French workers have enjoyed the right to retire on a state pension at 60 since 1982, and the measure is seen as one of the great social advances of former socialist president Francois Mitterrand’s time in office.

But Sarkozy insists that, at a time of rising life expectancy and soaring budget deficits, France can no longer afford to retire earlier than other industrialised countries. He has staked his credibility on pension reform.

The passage of the bill has triggered a wave of strikes and street protests around France, and two more major days of trade union action are planned in the coming weeks as the bill makes its way onto the statute books.