Sarkozy praises strong French state

13th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

EPINAL, France, July 13, 2007 (AFP) - France's rightwing President Nicolas Sarkozy came out in praise of big government on Thursday, saying his own free-market credentials sat happily with a strong French state.

EPINAL, France, July 13, 2007 (AFP) - France's rightwing President Nicolas Sarkozy came out in praise of big government on Thursday, saying his own free-market credentials sat happily with a strong French state.

"You can be as liberal as you like, you can attach a lot of value to personal initiative, to the market, to competition, you can place freedom above everything, but you cannot imagine France without a strong state," Sarkozy said in a policy speech on institutional reform in Epinal, eastern France.

"This is France's singularity. You don't govern France like you govern Germany, the United Kingdom or Spain," he said.
 
The state needed "sufficient authority" to overcome political party interests and divergent policy strands, he said.

"Whether you like it or not, it's a fact that many of the greatest things achieved in France have been done by the state", which was "one of the levers of modernisation and progress", Sarkozy said.

"It is no coincidence that state reform has always preceded any great public undertaking in France," he said.
 
Sarkozy, whose government features a number of members from the ranks of the Socialist opposition, has invited veteran Socialist Jack Lang to join a national committee charged with reforming the institutions of the French republic.

Lang said Thursday he would give his answer in the coming days.

Sarkozy said the committee would submit proposals on widening the president's responsibilities, on strengthening the power of parliament, on the status of the political opposition and on rules for filling top government posts.

The committee, headed by former prime minister Edouard Balladur, is to make its proposals which are to help make France into an "impeccable republic" by November 1, Sarkozy said.

All ideas would be discussed "without taboos", he added.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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