Sarkozy scraps Bastille Day garden party to save money
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is trying to rein in government overspending, is scrapping the traditional July 14 Bastille Day party at the presidential palace to save money.
Last year the party on France's national day, which is a top event on the social calendar for France's who's who, set the state back more than 700,000 euros (900,000 dollars), according to an opposition Socialist lawmaker.
That works out to nearly 100 euros per guest.
With the French public finances under severe strain, the government has frozen state spending for three years and Sarkozy has urged ministers to set an example by keeping their costs down.
A new wave of budget-tightening measures is due next week, including the cancellation of the presidential garden party, several members of Sarkozy's UMP party said.
Despite Sarkozy's calls to set an example, recent revelations about the lifestyle of some ministers have raised eyebrows.
State secretary in charge of development of the Paris region Christian Blanc has been in the hotseat for using public funds to pay for 12,000 euros worth of Cuban cigars.
State secretary for sport Rama Yade has also drawn fire for staying in hotel at the World Cup where rooms cost 667 euros a night while criticizing the French side for staying in a "ritzy" hotel.
© 2010 AFP