France's top state auditor released a 1,336-page report on Wednesday that looked into examples and risks of wasteful government spending.
And France is going to have to pay attention, not least considering reducing its deficit to 3.3 percent of GDP this year, and below three percent next year.
Here are a few of the report's recommendations on how France can reduce the most egregious examples of government waste.
No post on Saturdays
The auditors noted that France wasn't adjusting to people's decreasing dependence on old-fashioned snail mail. Postal workers may be “under occupied” because of this, and what's more, they're allowed to clock off when they've finished their round, meaning it's almost impossible to know how much potential working time is being lost.
The body also wondered if it's really necessary to have mail delivered on Saturday, and whether a switch to only weekdays was due. And with improving technology, the auditors noted that sorting mail could be increasingly handed over to machines.
The Nuclear cost of power plants
Maintaining France's nuclear plants will cost an estimated €100 billion by 2030, which works out as €1.7 billion per reactor.
While this should create around 110,000 jobs by 2020, there is a risk that many of the plants will actually be closed down. A recent law change requiring France to cut down on nuclear energy production from 75 percent now to 50 percent in 2025 means that up to 20 of France's 58 nuclear reactors may close before 2025.
While there have been investments in national rail service SNCF – particularly with improving the high-speed fleet, there are other issues that need addressing, said the Cour de Comptes.
The report noted that around 15 percent of the country's overhead wires were over 90 years old.
It also noted that the service was “antiquated” and could do with general improvements – pointing out that a daily commuter using the RER A and RER B lines in Paris would “hardly go one week” without being hit by delays.
Paris Metro too cheap
A monthly Navigo pass in Paris sets a traveller back €70 – which is hardly pricey enough, said the auditors.
It said the price was “one of the lowest compared to major foreign cities that are comparable to Paris”.
No to fare-jumpers
Photo: Nicolas Nova/Flickr
People not paying for tickets in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris, costs France €366 million a year. And it could be higher, the report said.
The figures are astounding – 123 million cases of people travelling without the proper bus ticket, 23 million on the trams, 84 million on the Metro, and 14 million on the RER.
The body called for a strengthening of controls, and also asked very politely for citizens to “remember their individual responsibility as a member of the national community”.
Other way France could save money included a suggestion to increase cigarette prices, to cut the wages of the military, and to make cutbacks at five major national theatres across the country.