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Sarkozy proposes constitutional obligation to curb budget deficit
Date: 2010/5/24 Click: 1240
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday he was considering making constitutional changes in a bid to curb increasing public deficit and realize national fiscal balance.   
After a meeting in the Elysee Palace, the president announced a series of measures to reduce public deficit, amid a growing concern in European countries about rising deficit following Greece's debt crisis.
  
A balanced public finance was not one government's mission but also should be the state's commitment, stressed Sarkozy.
  
He called to launch a constitutional reform immediately, which would oblige each government coming out of an election to engage in a five-year path dealing with the deficit, according to a statement from the President's office.
  
The modified constitution will contain regulation that each new government should publish its budget deficit plan as soon as it is established and make clear the timetable to balance its budget.
  
Prime Minister Francois Fillon has been told to hold consultations on the issue with other party members and members of the parliament.
  
Other measures to curb deficit include freezing federal expenditure and allocations to regional government, slashing the number of public servants and reducing medical welfare cost, Sarkozy said.
  
Raising tax to increase public revenue is also considered. Tax administrations are investigating current levy situation and will launch a battle against tax evaders, which may generate an extra 5 billion euros (6.25 billion U.S. dollars) in public finance, the president said.
  
Early this month, Prime Minister Fillon announced to freeze national expenditure "in value" in the next three years and reduce administrative operating cost by 10 percent.
  
Fillon's announcement also includes reducing budget deficit from 8.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2010 to 4.6 percent of GDP in 2012.
  
The French move toward tighter budgetary controls echoes Germany's recent call that other eurozone members should all take austerity measures to curb public deficit as worries about the eurozone stability keep growing, even after the first aid fund to Greece was already in place.
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