Sarkozy cancels summer party

Further budget cuts are due to be announced in the coming weeks

July 14 garden bash, which costs almost €750,000 to host, is axed to set an example in the economic crisis

NICOLAS Sarkozy has cancelled this year's summer garden party at the Elysée palace because of the economic crisis.

According to Le Parisien, the traditional Bastille Day celebration on July 14 will not be going ahead to set an example.

The paper claims that the move is not temporary - the party could well be scrapped entirely instead of just dropped this year.

The bash cost €732,826 to put on last year - almost €100 for each of the 7,500 invited guests.

This was made up of €313,618 worth of food, €295,921 for the marquees and furniture, €43,128 on wine and Champagne and €80,159 on cleaning and other expenses.

Green MP Noël Mamère said the decision to scrap the party was "anecdotal", compared with the extra revenue that the government could bring in by scrapping the bouclier fiscal, a scheme that allows France's richest residents to cap their personal tax liability at 50%.

The Elysée has an annual budget of €22m but does not publicly provide a breakdown of how it is spent. Further budget cuts are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

In other spending news, the government minister in charge of the future development of Paris, Christian Blanc, has been ordered by Prime Minister François Fillon to repay €12,000 worth of cigars he is reported to have bought with public money.

Mr Blanc, a former Air France and RATP chief executive, has admitted "a slight negligence" but said he had limited his consumption to "a maximum of two cigars per day". He has already paid back €4,500 after the revelation by Le Canard Enchaîné.

Photo credit: Abdoulaye Diallo

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