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French government reconvenes with unpopular reforms on agenda

Yoan Valat, AFP | Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace on December 10, 2018.

France's Council of Ministers met for the first time on Wednesday after the summer break, ready to relaunch a series of reforms that have at times proven unpopular.

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Among the least popular of the proposed reforms is the raising of the retirement age to 64 from the current age of 62.

Other topics on the agenda include a controversial law on bioethics, the CETA free-trade agreement with Canada and renewed efforts to tackle climate change. Other looming issues include simmering discontent among doctors and nurses as well as teachers, all of whom have staged protests in recent months.

President Emmanuel Macron is hoping above all to avoid the level of discontent seen during the months of weekly Yellow Vest protests in the first half of the year. But he may also have some new political capital at his disposal after unemployment fell in the second quarter to 8.5%, its lowest level in 10 years.

FRANCE 24's Chris Moore reports from the Élysée Palace
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