France Selling 1,700 Buildings to Help Cut Debt

June 9, 2010 - 10:15 AM
The French government says it's selling off 1,700 properties including chateaux, barracks and Parisian mansions, in part to cut the country's heavy debt.
Paris (AP) - The French government says it's selling off 1,700 properties including chateaux, barracks and Parisian mansions, in part to cut the country's heavy debt.
 
The announcement Wednesday was the first time the government laid out such ambitious sell-off plans.
 
Budget Minister Francois Baroin said he wants to ensure the sales are transparent. He says France has a disproportionately high amount of state property and has been trying to shed "useless and unadapted" buildings.
 
He says reducing some of the country's euro1.49 trillion ($1.79 trillion) debt is part of the reason for the sales, although less than 20 percent of proceeds will go directly to debt payments. The rest goes to new government investments.
 
State property sales in the past four years brought in euro3 billion ($3.6 billion).