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French report French report
by Euro Reporter
2008-06-16 07:59:53
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Sarkozy and his budget reforms

The French government unveiled a third and final wave of reforms aimed at rationalizing the state administration and reducing public spending, including a shakeup of the diplomatic service. President Nicolas Sarkozy has already announced two packages of measures to tackle inefficiencies across the government and the final raft of initiatives should enable the state to make savings of some 8 billion Euros a year by 2012.

“This is an unprecedented project for a deep-rooted transformation of our state,” government spokesman Luc Chatel told reporters after the French cabinet approved the reform. “The idea is that the state should do better with less money,” he added. The three pronged reform combines 332 measures and touches on most aspects of state administration, including Sarkozy’s 2007 election pledge to cut France’s army of civil servants by only replacing one out of two retiring public sector workers.

However, the government will still have to find further savings of around 40 billion Euros if it wants to honor its promise to the European Union and balance its budget by 2012. Wednesday’s measures will affect an array of ministries, including those for education, agriculture and culture. The foreign ministry also faces a potentially radical reform, with one out of every five embassies likely to see their activities downgraded and ministry employees in France centered in three sites against nine at present.

France is also likely to review its aid programmes, cutting back on funding to multinational projects run by the likes of the European Union, and concentrate instead on bilateral deals. Le Monde newspaper said France additionally wanted to scale back the number of countries receiving development aid to between 30 and 40 from more than 100 at present. In a move that might spark student protests, the government also announced that it planned to reform the way it financed universities from 2009, allocating money on a performance basis.

But all that will of course soon stop since …Mrs. Sarkozy needs summer holidays!


The French Muslim Council

Elections for France's official Muslim council on Sunday put a Moroccan-backed mosque network on top in a poll overshadowed by a boycott by its former leaders from the Algerian-backed Paris Grand Mosque. The Rally of French Muslims (RMF) took 43.2 percent of the vote, ahead of the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF) at 30.2 percent and a Turkish mosque network at 12.7 percent, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) announced. Various local groups made up the rest of the field.

The result put the RMF, which enjoyed strong support from Rabat during its campaign, in a strong position to win the post of CFCM president for the first time in another vote on June 22. Several Muslim leaders said a new leadership should be able to free the CFCM to work on problems facing France's 5 million Muslims such as training imams, building mosques and organizing haj pilgrimages to Mecca.

"This is a new beginning," said Haydar Demiryurek, CFCM secretary general and head of the Coordinating Committee of French Turkish Muslims. The CFCM has been paralyzed since its start in 2003 by rivalry between member groups and its leader Dalil Boubakeur, the Paris Grand Mosque rector imposed as president by the French government although his group placed third in the elections. When the government declined to intervene this time, Boubakeur announced his group would boycott the election in protest against the ballot system that gives votes to mosque networks according to the floor space of their prayer rooms.

Anouar Kbibech, president of the RMF group that led the polls, said the new CFCM leadership would want to have Paris Grand Mosque group rejoin the council. "The Paris Grand Mosque has great symbolic importance," he said, referring to the best-known mosque in France. "We will do everything we can to see it comes back."

This is what Bin Laden managed, he actually was more successful to divide the Muslims in Europe than anybody else and there were many who tried for centuries!

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