Hollande details plan to put French state on diet

PARIS (AP) - President Francois Hollande says his plans to put France's bloated government on a diet include cutting state aid to companies.

The Socialist leader says previously announced plans to trim state spending by 10 billion euros (S$16 billion) this year will target more than 7,000 types of state aid for companies, worth a total of nearly 80 billion euros.

In his New Year's address to top civil servants on Tuesday, Hollande also said 100 state-backed commissions "whose usefulness is not proven" - about 15 per cent of the total - will be shut this year.

France's state spending as a percentage of GDP is one of the highest in the European Union. France wants to reduce spending and boost competitiveness to avoid the sort of debt market turmoil that has affected other European countries.