Sarkozy Costs French Taxpayers $2.6M a Year
He gets quite a lot of perks as an ex-prez
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2013 8:52 AM CDT
French former President Nicolas Sarkozy leaves the polling booth prior to cats his vote in the first round of French legislative elections in Paris, France, Sunday, June 10, 2012.   (AP Photo/Philippe Wojazer, Pool)

(Newser) – French President Francois Hollande is trying to fix the country's debt problems—but he's being foiled just a bit by his predecessor. French taxpayers spend $2.6 million a year, possibly more, on Nicolas Sarkozy's upkeep, Bloomberg reports. That's because former French presidents are entitled to an office, staff, and security paid for with tax dollars and—unlike in the US—no law exists to cap those benefits. It must stick in Hollande's craw a bit, since his austerity measures have made him France's least popular president of the past three decades—and 53% of the country thinks Sarkozy would have done a better job.

The other two living ex-presidents, Jacques Chirac and Valery Giscard d’Estaing, aren't cheap, either, costing taxpayers between $1.9 million and $2.6 million per year, according to one lawmaker's estimate. "It would be considered stingy for a current president to crimp his predecessor’s lifestyle," notes one expert. Some of the perks granted to Sarkozy: A 3,230-square-foot office with at least eight staffers (including Carla Bruni's stepsister), 10 security guards (including two chauffeurs), and a monthly allowance of almost $7,800. Plus, he gets another monthly allowance of almost the same size because he's a lifetime member of the Constitutional Council.

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Mar 18, 2013 11:24 AM CDT
That is one sweet deal. It is almost like they divorced him and now he needs to be maintained in the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. It is like a social program for the 0.0001%!!!
Mar 18, 2013 9:26 AM CDT
Stiglitz (in The Price of Inequality) shows fairly conclusively (in my opinion, anyway) that austerity measures don't actually help anyone but the multi-national banks and their shareholders. This is not a way to actually cure the problems facing a country, but it is a way to make sure the credit banks take over a larger slice of that country's economy.
Mar 18, 2013 9:25 AM CDT
"French President Francois Hollande is trying to fix the country's debt problems" That first sentence is hilarious!