French ministers must cut expensive habits

July 1, 2010 at 3:38 PM
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PARIS, July 1 (UPI) -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy, facing a big deficit, has to deal with embarrassing examples of overspending by members of his government.

Sarkozy has made some cuts in his own spending, The New York Times reports. There will be no state garden parties to mark Bastille Day or hunts at Chateau de Chambord, the Loire castle built as a hunting lodge for French kings.

Some ministers have been ordered to repay the Treasury for luxuries purchased at government expense. That includes the $15,000 Christian Blanc, minister for development of the Paris region, paid for Cuban cigars.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon ordered tighter rules for travel after another junior minister, Alain Joyandet, spent $142,000 to fly to Martinique for a conference on Haitian reconstruction in a chartered jet. Rama Yade, a junior minister for sport, had to move into a Johannesburg guesthouse for the World Cup after an uproar about her hotel suite.

Sarkozy has said he will not increase taxes to close a shortfall the European Commission estimates at 8 percent of France's gross domestic product.

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