Nicolas Sarkozy has backed down from a campaign pledge to reform the sclerotic French civil service, says the Telegraph. The government has scuppered the president's vow to halve the number of civil servants, which Sarkozy had made a central feature of his policy of "rupture."
PM François Fillon's announcement that only a quarter of fonctionnaires would be cut is the latest of a series of retreats from the major reforms that the hyperactive Sarkozy had promised. His attempts to limit strikes have run into fierce union opposition, and in June he walked away from a planned restructuring of the university system, fearing a student revolt similar to the March, 2006, protests that paralyzed the nation. (Read more Nicolas Sarkozy stories.)