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May 18, 2012

Hollande government takes 30% pay cut

President Francois Hollande took a 30 percent pay cut, as Europe's debt crisis is his top priority. (UPI/David Silpa)

PARIS (UPI) -- France's new Socialist government, headed by President Francois Hollande, took a 30 percent pay cut Thursday and said Europe's debt crisis is its top priority.

The pay cut -- the first agenda item at Thursday's ministerial meeting -- stood in stark contrast to the 30 percent raise German Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted Wednesday, Radio France Internationale reported.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said the government was "setting an example." Nicolas Sarkozy, who was defeated May 6, gave himself a 170 percent raise to 19,000 euros a month after his election in 2007.

Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said France will not ratify the EU's fiscal pact if it focuses solely on austerity measures without proposals for growth.

"What has been said quite clearly is that the treaty will not be ratified as is and that it must be completed with a chapter on growth, with a growth strategy," Moscovici said.

"The priority is to disentangle the crisis in Europe," Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said.

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