Protesters have brought much of Paris to a standstill for more than a month [Christian Hartmann/Reuters]

A crucial week of negotiations between trade unions and government officials has begun in France amid nationwide protests and transport strikes against plans to overhaul the pension system.

“A compromise has never been so close,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio on Monday, with talks between the prime minister and workers’ representatives set to resume on Tuesday.

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France’s President Emmanuel Macron held a Cabinet meeting on Monday ahead of the talks, and the government is “not inflexible”, Le Maire said, suggesting there is room for negotiation including on the financing of the pension system.

Several unions have called for nationwide protests on Thursday

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