French pension reform goes to cabinet amid criticism

France— Link

Measure has attracted little street protest at home but international critics say it does not go far enough.

EU Rehn: France has much more to do on economic reform

International— Link

EU's economics chief says France going in right direction but needs to say how increases in labour costs due to pension reforms will be compensated.

French pension reforms can weather poor growth, claims minister

France— Link

Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine insists new reforms, criticised by the Right as lacking boldness, are no stopgap measure.

Reform in length of French school day: the hour of truth


French primary pupils return to their classrooms this week with new rules in place shortening the length of the school day. But not only will just a fifth of schools actually implement the reforms this year, they will be applied differently even in those areas that do adopt them. This could create significant inequalities in pupils' access to extracurricular activities; some children will get to practice circus acts, others will simply be put in childcare. Lucie Delaporte reports on these and other changes at the start of the new academic year.

French penal reform extends probation to ease jail crowding

France— Link

Justice minister Christiane Taubira also plans to remove minimum sentence guidelines for repeat offenders, as opposition decry reforms as 'soft'.

France mulls pension points system for those in physically gruelling jobs

France— Link

French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault suggests giving those in tough physical jobs a points-based credit system rather than pension based on years worked.

Expert panel call for tougher reforms of French pension system

France— Link

Government-commissioned report urges longer working years for full pension benefits and reduction of tax breaks for wealthier retirees.

The shameful plight of France's retired immigrant population


Amidst the heated debate over the French government’s plan to further reform the French pension system, a cross-party parliamentary committee will next month deliver its recommendations on remedying what one of its members describes as the “scandalous” plight of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers who enter retirement with little rights and in conditions of dire poverty. Carine Fouteau reports on a shameful social issue that has hitherto been swept under the carpet by successive governments, and  hears from the committee’s rapporteur, Alexis Bachelay, what reforms he and his colleagues are due to propose in June.

France moves to catch up lost ground in the race for foreign talent


Earlier this week the French Senate held the first of two parliamentary consultative debates to explore how to make France a more attractive destination for skilled foreign professionals and students, an issue that has long been neglected and submerged under the anti-immigration policies and political rhetoric of the government’s predecessors. In a move to catch up with initiatives launched by other countries, the government plans to present a bill of law this summer to reform its immigration legislation to attempt to facilitate and encourage professional immigration. Carine Fouteau reports on how what was once a political taboo is now the subject of an open and aggressive competition for an ever-growing and increasingly-needed pool of talent worldwide.

Brussels rebukes France on pace of reforms

France— Link

EU says France’s shrinking share of global exports and diminishing growth prospects set to continue until country’s labour market is more flexible.

Making the French state 'exemplary': President Hollande's modest first steps

Institutions— Analysis

When he was a candidate for the presidency, François Hollande promised to create a French system of government that would be beyond reproach. Earlier this week the president took his first steps to achieve that with the announcement of four laws to change the French Constitution. Yet there has been as much attention on the measures left out of the reforms as on what has been included. For example, there is no end to the president's immunity from prosecution while in office. Lénaïg Bredoux and Michel Deléan explain that the president has only backed those laws he is sure will get passed.

Socialists seek new fix for French pensions - minister

France— Link

Socialist government says it will overhaul pension system again because former president Nicolas Sarkozy failed to ensure its long-term viability.

Hollande unveils softened French bank reform

France— Link

Ministers hail it as model for the rest of Europe as critics say it falls short of president's campaign pledge to get tough with financial sector.

Cash-strapped mayors threaten to disrupt reform of French school year


President François Hollande and education minister Vincent Peillon have made reform of the school calendar in France one of the top priorities of the new administration. The changes will see the extension of the school week from four to four-and-a-half days, but a shortening of the school day itself. However, the shake-up of the system will have financial implications for local councils whose budgets are already being squeezed, and their opposition is threatening to delay the reforms, as Lucie Delaporte reports.

Ayrault backtracks after offering 35-hour working week debate

France— Link

The French prime minister is forced into an embarrassing climbdown after suggesting a possible change to the country's historic 35-hour work week.