France raises retirement age
Queen’s University history professor Timothy Smith is available to talk about French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s announcement to raise the official retirement age from 60 to 62.
“With this modest reform, President Sarkozy is taking a small step toward realigning the French retirement age with life expectancies. But he faces an uphill battle. The irony is that the greater the benefits, the more dire the financial future of the nation is the more difficult reform will be. Millions of people have a lot to lose. Expectations must now be ratcheted down,” says Professor Smith. “This is one of the least popular governments in modern French history. I can imagine two scenarios: either the French accept this reform grudgingly or they put up Greek-style resistance, and the temptation to pull out of the euro rises.”
Professor Smith is the author of the book France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality, and Globalization Since 1980 (Cambridge University Press).
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