PARIS (AP) France is taking small steps to address a looming 20 billion euro ($26.69 billion) hole in its pension system, hoping to avoid the crippling protests of earlier reform attempts.

France spends about 14 percent of its GDP on its state retirement system, compared with 5 percent spent on Social Security in the United States. Most French retirees expect to be able to live on their state pensions, and the Socialist government isn't threatening that.

President Francois Hollande has already reversed France's last major reform returning the retirement age to 60 for some workers after predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy raised it to 62.

But the current government's plan, announced this week, would indirectly force people to work longer by gradually lengthening the time workers must pay in to get full pensions.