FRANCE – France’s minister of social affairs François Fillon has reaffirmed the need for a “profound reform” to the state’s pension system, claiming that the pension reserve fund’s (FRR) 150 billion euro target by 2020 is “out of reach”.

His announcement at the national assembly yesterday followed protests in Paris by over 100,000 public sector workers over the government’s privatisation policies and threats to pensions.

Fillon said that, in his view, the FRR target of 150 billion euros was largely out of reach, and that even if the figure were achievable, the FRR would not necessarily ensure the safeguarding of the pension system unless it went hand in hand with a profound reform.

Last week, speaking to the senate, Fillon said that the reform would take a long time, and that more steps should be taken with the year 2040 as the horizon.

The pension reserve fund was set up in 1999 to buttress the "pay-as-you-go" state pension system, and this week received a 500 million euro injection from the proceeds of the sale of the government’s 10.9% stake in Credit Lyonnais to BNP Paribas.

According to the French press, Fillon’s announcement provided little consolation as no plans as to how the government intends to change the pension system have been mentioned.