Update: French Parliament Passes Pension Reform Plan
Paris, France (AHN) – Despite weeks of strikes and protests across the nation, French lawmakers on Wednesday passed President Nicolas Sarkozy’s fiercely-contested pension reforms in the National Assembly. The law will increase the minimum retirement age to 62 years old. According to a presidential advisor, Sarkozy will publish the law in an official gazette around November 15.
The approval came just a day before unionists planned one of the biggest strikes, which could bring the country to halt again. The ninth biggest strike is called for Thursday, which will include protest marches and strikes in over 100 towns and cities, while tenth day of family rallies is to be staged on November 6.
Prime Minister Francois Fillion has called on the countrymen to respect the law and bring themselves out of the current crisis. His comments came at a time when Socialists threatened to take the matter before the Constitutional Court.
“Everyone should know how to come out of this protest with responsibility and a mutual respect,” Fillon said.
Supporting the pension reform plan, Fillion said that increasing the legal retirement age was an important step aimed at protecting the welfare system in the face of the effect of demographic aging.
“Our fellow citizens can view the future of their pensions with more confidence,” he added. However, Socialist lawmaker Marisol Touraine was apparently not convinced with the proposal as she said it punishes the poor.
“You’ve spoken a lot about courage,” Touraine told Labour Minister Eric Woerth, who helped write the law. “But you’ve chosen to make the weakest pay, to attack those with the least means.”
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