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Hollande says French public sector too expensive

Mairie de Champlan, a typical town hall in France
Mairie de Champlan, a typical town hall in France Wikipédia/Cyrilb1881

French president François Hollande told a gathering of civil servants on Tuesday that he hoped to make savings of 50 billion euro in the state sector by 2017.


At a New Year reception for civil servants at the Elysée Palace, he declared that the French state had become “too heavy, too slow and too expensive”.

On New Year’s Eve, in the traditional presidential address to the nation, Hollande conceded that the tax burden on the nation had become “too heavy” and it seems he now plans to try to cut the French deficit more by reductions in state expenditure.

Hollande has frequently been criticised for a lack of clarity in his approach to France’s problems, but following his address to the nation, many political commentators judge that he is now more openly embracing Social Democratic rather than Socialist policies.

On Tuesday Hollande told his audience of public sector workers that they must all play their part, and that for services to be “more efficient” the state must “spend less”.

France has a tradition of well-funded public services. It's health system, for example, is rated among the best and most generous in the world but it is costly to run. 

Hollande was criticised by some for pledging 60,000 new teaching jobs during his election campaign without first examining how else the education system might be improved.

Meanwhile the country's multi-layered administrative system is frequently cited by users as an area where economies might be made.

On Thursday Hollande will spell out new measures which he says are intended to simplify life for citizens and reduce bureaucracy and regulations for businesspeople.



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