French leader Francois Hollande's new Socialist government got down to work on Thursday with the first order of business a symbolic 30 percent pay cut for the president and ministers.
Following the cabinet's inaugural meeting, spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said the salary reduction was to "set an example" as the government looks to tackle France's troubled public finances.
The move was also aimed at drawing a distinction between Hollande and former president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose gross salary famously increased by 170 percent to 21,300 euros ($27,000) per month after he took office in 2007.
The gross salaries of Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will fall to 14,910 euros per month, while ministers' gross salaries will drop from 14,200 euros to 9,940 euros per month.
The head of the main opposition centre-right UMP party, Jean-Francois Cope, denounced the salary cut as a "sham", noting that the new government had 34 members -- 14 more than Sarkozy's first cabinet in 2007.
"Decreasing salaries by 30 percent cannot hide the simple fact that Francois Hollande's government will cost a lot more to the taxpayer," he said in a statement.
However Sarkozy's last government had 31 members including ministers and secretaries of state.
Senior ministers said the government's first concern would be to tackle the European debt crisis and push Hollande's vow to shift the European Union's economic focus from austerity to growth.
"The priority is to disentangle the crisis in Europe," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told news channel BFMTV. "I am profoundly European but we need a different Europe, a Europe that is much more focused on jobs."
Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici reiterated that Paris would not ratify the EU's fiscal austerity pact if it does not include measures to boost growth.
Moscovici also gave assurances that the Socialists would keep public finances under control.
"I want to be very clear, Francois Hollande has said it repeatedly, we must tackle the public debt, reduce deficits, and secure France's situation. That is fundamental, a country that runs up debt is a country that is getting poorer."
2012-05-19 14:17 编辑：crystal156
CLSA, the Asia-focused brokerage arm of Credit Agricole, has scrapped a controversial scheme that slashed staff pay, in a sign of the dramatic reversal in the fortunes of financial