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French Senate votes to raise retirement age to 62

Pension reform strikes
Image caption Pension reforms have already sparked protests

The French Senate has voted to raise the country's retirement age from 60 to 62, just part of the government's sweeping pension reform plans.

The package, designed to cut France's pension costs, has prompted union leaders to call for a national day of strikes on 16 October.

Although the lower house of parliament has already backed the change, further reforms are still to be voted on.

Another proposal is to raise the full state pension age to 67.

The planned reforms will require employees to work for a minimum of 41.5 years to qualify for state pensions, a year longer than is currently the case.

The government hopes the package will be passed in its entirety by the end of October.

Workers have already staged strikes in protest at the proposals.

Along with all major economies, France is looking to reduce its borrowing levels, which have increased sharply as a result of the global financial crisis.

France's budget deficit currently stands at more than 7% of GDP - far above the 3% target set by the EU, but much lower than some EU members including the UK, Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

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