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Paris Could See 25% Drop in Business Document Volume

Posted December. 14, 2007 03:13,   


Paris had said that it would reduce the number of its civil servants as many as 100,000 by replacing only one of every two retirees over the next five years.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (picture) on Wednesday announced 100 measures to reduce the size of government and streamline administrative affairs in line with planned civil servant cuts.

The prime minister’s office that has control of all government ministries will be fundamentally overhauled. Overlapping and inefficient committees under the prime minister’s office, including the State Evaluation Committee, will be eliminated. The works of other committees will be adjusted or transferred to other ministries.

To enhance efficiency and reduce expenditures of the Ministry of Defense, the commands of army, navy and air force will be integrated into a “French Pentagon.”

The Ministries of Environment and Transportation will be removed, and some works of the Ministry of Industry will be merged into the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, hinting that the works of industry and transportation will have a lot to do with that of the environment.

State-owned real estate worth €44 billion that controlled by each government ministry will be put under a single ministry, facilitating the utilization of the properties.

The judiciary, which will see the removal of 370 courthouses, will have a significantly reduced workload. From 2002 to 2004, civil suits increased by 17% and administrative suits by 21%.

To this end, in the case of uncontested divorces, divorcees will not have to take their cases to a court of law. They will be able to split in the presence of a notary public only.

Complicated administrative works will be significantly streamlined for the public’s convenience as well.

To reduce the time businesses spend on paperwork, within four years there will be a 25% reduction in documents businesses have to submit to the Government. If this is put into place, businesses and the government are expected to save up to €2 billion.

Citizens do not have to visit to their city hall (or town hall) to get an ID card, driver’s license or passport. All they have to do is visit a district office. The procedure to get a driver’s license will also be simplified.

Under EU law, France has to balance its budget by 2012. The fiscal deficit, which has been over 2% of GDP, has piled up to €12 trillion last year from €8 trillion in 2001.

With these measures in place, French President Sarkozy wants to reduce annual public expenditures from the current €1 billion to €850 million, a similar amount to Germany’s. If this happens, the fiscal deficit will not get bigger and the government only has to reduce its accumulated deficit.

However, the Financial Times reported, “It is possible that the French government can re-put the savings into improving welfare and wages of civil servants. So actually the amount saved will be an open question.”