Any sexual act by an adult with a child younger than 15 can be prosecuted as a sexual offence under current French law.
The reform follows two cases of rape, one in November last year, when a 30-year-old man was acquitted of rape of an 11-year-old girl after the court determined there was no evidence she was subjected to "constraint, threat, violence or surprise".
France's Minister for Gender Equality Marlene Schiappa said the government had chose to keep the age of consent at 15 following a citizens' consultation and the findings of an expert report. In order for an incident to qualify as rape, prosecutors have to prove the victim was forced.
The new law will be presented to Council of Ministers on March 21.
Reporting in December, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley said, "Another very recent case saw a middle school teacher get an eight-month suspended sentence after having a relationship with his 13-year-old student".
Five takeaways from President Trump's news conference with Sweden's prime minister
Only a few people in the room chuckled quietly, prompting the president to add "nobody got that". And I think it's the best way to go".
The law, once implemented, will set the age at which a person can not agree to any sexual intercourse at 15 and will criminalize any sexual activity with any minor younger than that age. According to CNN, the charges another rape case involving a 28-year-old and an 11-year-old were dropped to "sexual relations with a minor". President Emmanuel Macron, among others, argued for it to be older.
The new plans are to change the legal age of sexual consent to 15-years-old, meaning that any sex between an adult and a child of under 15 will be considered rape.
The new requirement is expected go into effect following government approval of a package of sexual violence and gender discrimination laws in the coming weeks.
"Since then lawmakers and child-protection groups have been urging the government to set a minimum age of consent, as is the case in many European countries, with suggested ages ranging from 13 to 15".
But the same court reversed its decision last month, saying the accused should indeed face rape charges. "Below which it's always considered as a rape", she said.