French government seeks 1 bln euros to pay December wages

25th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The French government on Thursday requested one billion euros in emergency credit to cover December's payroll in eight ministries, after underestimating how much money would be required.

The Senate approved 1.14 billion euros (1.5 billion dollars) in emergency spending, of which 930 million euros was earmarked to cover personnel costs, said Jean Arthuis, the head of the Senate's finance committee.

Arthuis said in a statement that he had "strong reservations" over the credit, and warned against spiralling state spending.

The credit would be used to cover December salaries for thousands of employees in eight ministries including education, defence and interior, and represented a little over one percent of state wage costs, Arthuis said.

The lawmaker said this was the first time the government had made a request of this type to the Senate.

The black hole emerged because fewer people had retired than was forecast, she said.

Replacing only 50 percent of retiring bureaucrats is one of President Nicolas Sarkozy's key measures to reduce France's chronic overspending.

The French budget has not been in balance for more than 30 years.

© 2010 AFP

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