OECD Economic Surveys: France 2007

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With short-term prospects somewhat brighter, and budgetary prospects improved, the OECD Economic Survey of France 2007 looks at some long-term challenges: the performance of policies for education and those for poverty and social exclusion is satisfactory or better in many areas, but cost-effectiveness can be improved and more focus on employment is needed. Policy has begun to prepare for the economic impact of population ageing, but there is no room to relax in seeking to contain fiscal costs and to increase employment among older workers.

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Coping with demographic ageing

Past pension reforms have reduced the future costs of ageing for public finance. These costs are still set to rise, however, and health care finance may also pose a problem of similar magnitude – but subject to greater uncertainty. If the reforms are successful, they will stop and reverse the trend towards ever earlier retirement, but low employment among people over 55 is still an important problem, with its origins largely in mistaken policies of the past. The Conseil d’orientation de retraites, COR, has been instrumental in creating a degree of consensus on the nature of the problems; the new government will need to continue the reforms, building on the recent COR report.

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