Anxious to be seen to reduce public outgoings while the rest of the country suffers from austerity measures, President Sarkozy demanded that “everyone makes an effort” in his government, consigning taxpayer-funded Cuban cigars, luxury jets, five-star hotels and presidential hunts to history.
Having cancelled his own summer party at the Elysée this year, the President insisted in a letter to the prime minister yesterday that ministers followed suit.
“I have decided that lifestyle of the state be vigorously reduced,” he wrote. “The state must, more than ever, display exemplariness”.
From now on, ministers will have to foot the bill for private spending instead of dipping into the public purse. Some 10,000 official cars and 7,000 official flats are to be axed in the next three years, and ministers are being asked to “prefer rail transport” wherever possible.