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France: Retirement Reform Found Constitutional

(Nov. 22, 2010) On November 9, 2010, the French Constitutional Council found that the reform of the retirement system, which raised the legal minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for receipt of a full pension from 65 to 67, was in conformity with the Constitution. The constitutional challenge had been submitted by lawmakers from the Socialist Party (Conseil Constitutionnel, Décision 2010- 617DC (Nov. 9, 2010),

The Council stated that the Law satisfies the constitutional requirement of a policy of national solidarity for retired workers and the equality principle. In raising the minimum retirement age to 62, the objective of the government was to preserve the pension system, which is confronting major financing difficulties (id). The Council found that there was no violation of the principle of equality between women and men, as the provisions applied to both (id.).

The Council also ruled that the government had respected parliamentary rules. It noted, in particular, that the decision of the President of the National Assembly to stop the process of vote explanations – a procedure giving each deputy the right to explain his/her vote for five minutes at the end of the debate – did not infringe upon the clarity and sincerity requirements of parliamentary debate. Finally, the Council struck down several articles dealing with workplace health care as unrelated to the subject of the Law (id.).