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  • Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a political rally as he campaigns for the leadership of the UMP political party in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris suburb, November 25, 2014.

    Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy attends a political rally as he campaigns for the leadership of the UMP political party in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris suburb, November 25, 2014. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 September 2016

The revelations come as France experiences high unemployment rates and unrest over labor reforms that make it easier for employers to fire workers.

Former French presidents cost taxpayers more than $US11 million each year to pay for apartments, vehicles, travel and phone expenses, according to a report released by French media outlet Mediapart.

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The report said that each former head of state receives more than $US70,000 in addition to a furnished apartment, personal car and chauffeurs, domestic assistants, and free travel by trains and aircraft.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012 and has announced he is a candidate for the office in 2017 election, received nearly $US250,000 from taxpayers for his posh Paris apartment, as well as phone lines and vehicle expenses. Sarkozy also reportedly received $US400,000 in taxpayer money to pay staff salaries.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who was president from 1974 to 1981, reportedly receives around $US300,000 in taxpayers expenses per year to cover his apartment, petrol and press subscriptions.

Former French prime ministers were also said to have benefited from taxpayer funds. Alain Juppé, who was prime minister from 1995 to 1997, reportedly received a payment of more than $US100,000 in 2014.

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The report came from France’s court of auditors and the state council but was only released by Mediapart this week after being reportedly delivered to current French President Francois Hollande two years ago.

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The revelations come as France is experiencing high unemployment rates and Hollande's government faces a continued backlash from protesters and union movements over the "Loi Travail" labor reforms, which make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers.

The reforms would give managers more flexibility in hiring and firing staff, but workers say the changes will undermine collective bargaining rights.

More than a dozen ministers from Francois Hollande’s ruling Socialist Party reported an income of more than $US1.1 million in August. Hollande in July was heavily criticized for paying around $US10,000 each month to his hairdresser.
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