PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new left-wing government announced on Wednesday a cut in the pension age to 60 for some long-time workers, carrying out an election pledge in the face of economic troubles and an EU warning that it would overburden an already creaking social welfare system.
Socialist President Francois Hollande, who took power in mid-May on a pro-growth ticket for the economy, had promised a partial rollback of his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy’s pension reform if he won.
“Promise made, promise met,” said Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
He said in an interview on TV channel TF1 that the move was fully funded by a small rise in contributions and France would still meet European commitments gradually to reduce its public deficit to zero in 2017.
The cut, announced by decree, was anticipated but still drew stinging criticism from the conservative opposition.
The change, taking effect in November, partly reverses Sarkozy’s 2010 reform that raised the pension age to 62 from 60 and affects workers who have spent at least 41 years in labour-intensive jobs.