French presidential expenditures rose under cost-cutting Sarkozy
As trade unions continue to protest against French President Nicolas Sarkozy's efforts to trim state expenses, the web site of the daily Le Figaro reported Wednesday that expenditures for Sarkoky's office increased by 8.3 per cent in 2007, reported dpa.
That rise is about three times the increase in state expenditures over the same period, said lawmaker Rene Dosiere, who has worked for years on tracking the expenses of the Elysee Palace.
The report is potentially embarrassing for Sarkozy, who saw his popularity plunge in part because he had himself voted a large pay rise shortly after taking office last year as the purchasing power of the French stagnated.
The increase in expenditures of the presidential office from 32.1 million euros (49.7 million dollars) in 2006 to 35.1 million euros in 2007 was driven by three factors, Dosiere said: a 10 per cent increase in personnel costs, a 53 per cent rise in the budget for repairs and equipment and a 29 per cent jump in the presidential salary.
Sarkozy was the first French president to grant himself a pay hike upon taking office.
Because Sarkozy took office on May 16, not all the expenses could be attributed to his administration. However, Dosiere said that Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, had actually left more money in the presidential till than expected
Some presidential expenses fell, however. The cost of the presidential Christmas tree decreased by 20 per cent and expenses for wine plunged 44 per cent. The reason? Sarkozy is a teetotaller.