PARIS, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Friday the government was determined to advance pension reforms despite opposition from the Socialist Party and unions.
Fillon said at a news conference that France can't afford the pension payments. He insisted on the necessity of prolonged work time, rebutting the Socialists' opposition.
The prime minister spoke one day after a general strike against the reform rallied country-wide demonstrations.
Such demonstrations didn't "solve the demographic problems," Fillon said, referring to the pension system.
"We will rebalance our pension plans from 2018 ... to sustain this equilibrium, we have scheduled an appointment in 2018 to consider to further this reform," Fillon said at the conference.
Nevertheless, he mentioned exemptions. No person who starts work before 18 years old will be obliged by the threshold retirement age of 60, Fillon confirmed.
The prime minister said that in a few days the government would announce updated budget decisions together with measures to improve past accounts.
On June 16, Labor Minister Eric Woerth announced the government was set to raise the statutory retirement age from 60 to 62 in 2018 in a bid to curb its growing deficit.
Labor unions criticized the bill immediately after the announcement and vowed to show pressure by demonstration.
The final bill will be examined by the Council of Ministers in early July and will then be subject to the approval of parliament in September.