PARIS (AP) — France's new Socialist government moved Wednesday to lower the retirement age from 62 to 60 years old for certain workers, bucking the trend in developed countries in a gesture to unions that critics say is a costly mistake.

Governments from North America to Europe have been pushing retirement ages higher and higher in recent decades, as people are living longer and spending more years on state-sponsored pension checks.

Raising France's general retirement age from 60 to 62 years old was a key reform of conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy. The 2010 measure was aimed at reducing heavy government debts as Europe sunk into a continent-wide debt crisis — and many economists said it didn't push the retirement age high enough.

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