The French measure pales in comparison with more drastic changes elsewhere in Europe. Germany, for example, plans to gradually raise its retirement age from 65 to 67, starting in 2012.
Labor Minister Eric Woerth says the reform will save nearly ¤19 billion ($23.4 billion) in 2018 and should bring the pension system back into the black that year.
The reform makes exceptions for people who have had physically tough jobs that took a toll on their health, as well as people who began working young. The reform is scheduled to be instituted progressively and will also stretch out the total number of years people have to work to win full pension payments. The Cabinet is to discuss the proposals in July, and they are expected to go before parliament next autumn.
There is an article in the New York Times today claiming the debate over France's World Cup exit has taken on racist undertones, with some in France suggesting certain players did not play as a team because they have not assimilated into French culture. France's football team had a coach who had been there too long, wielding a sense of entitlement resented by the players. The players were out for themselves. When leadership took action the players did not like (ie. sending Anelka home after he told the coach to f*ck himself and called him the son of a whore), they went on strike, refusing to train. Their performance in all games was dismal, and now that it is over nobody is willing to take responsibility for their failure, instead the players are casting blame net far and wide. What could be more French than that?