French diplomats under-employed
Reports says many of France's top-notch diplomats are under-employed, waiting for months on end for an assignment or foreign posting.
PARIS, April 3, 2008 - Many of France's top-notch diplomats are
under-employed, waiting for months on end for an assignment or foreign
posting, according to a government monitoring body quoted in a newspaper
The Cour des Comptes office, which monitors public spending, wrote a letter
to Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in late 2007 raising concern that "senior
civil servants are being left without any definite assignment for more than a
It said that one out of four ambassador-level diplomats, or 127, were
performing tasks for which they are over-qualified, according to a letter
quoted in Le Figaro newspaper.
The office found 14 senior diplomats who were without assignment, 16 who
would soon be and 17 who had taken up short-term missions.
Asked about the report, foreign ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani said
France was struggling with an ageing diplomatic corps and that there were
limited opportunities for them.
But she disputed the figures, saying of 400 senior diplomats, only six were
currently without assignment.
The foreign ministry in December offered an early retirement package to
diplomats over 58, and Le Figaro said there would soon be offers of
compensation for employees who agreed to give up their jobs.
France has the second biggest diplomatic corps in the world after the
United States, with 158 embassies, 98 consulates and 16,000 employees.