France's law to ensure people 'age well' falls short of expectations

Like many developed countries, France is facing an ageing population and low birth rate. Parliament this week approved a law that aims to help seniors "age well". After months of debate, however, MPs across the political spectrum worry the final bill isn't ambitious enough.

The proposed law on "healthy ageing and autonomy" was definitively approved by the upper house of parliament on Wednesday, following a green light from the lower house last week.

"We all want an ambitious reform to meet the challenge of ageing," Renaissance party MP Annie Vidal told France Info.

One of four rapporteurs involved in examining the legislation, she defended the bill as "pragmatic".

But it has been criticised by MPs who say the text falls short of the wider plan on senior care and autonomy promised by President Emmanuel Macron during his first mandate.

"While it includes some interesting advances, this text cannot replace an overall strategy proposed by the government," said Philippe Mouiller, a senator from the conservative Republicans party.

Socialist and green MPs abstained from the vote while the Communist Party rejected the text.

It's "a publicity stunt to give the illusion of progress on this issue" according to Communist senator Cathy Apourceau-Poly.

Among the key concerns is the need for a clear plan for financing elderly care.

Declining birthrate

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