France's parliament granted final approval Wednesday to a bill raising the retirement age from 60 to 62, a reform that has infuriated the country's powerful unions and touched off weeks of protests and strikes. The 336-233 vote in the National Assembly was a victory for conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has stood firm despite the protests - a stance that has resulted in his lowest approval ratings since he took office in 2007 … Unions see retirement at 60 as a cornerstone of France's generous social benefit system, but the conservative government says the entire pension system is in jeopardy without the reform because French people now have longer lifespans - an average of nearly 85 years for women and 78 for men, according to newly released figures from statistics agency Insee.
I am not an expert on the French retirement benefits debate but this claim sounds like a canard that proponents of Social Security benefit cuts in the US have often made. If life expectancy is longer because fewer children die prematurely, then it has little to do with the solvency of any retirement benefit program. The issue at hand should be the remaining life expectancy when people reach age 60.