May 17 - French President Francois Hollande gets down to work with his first cabinet meeting and a pay cut. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: The new government appointed by new Socialist President Francois Hollande met for the first time in Paris on Thursday, three days after he was sworn into office as France's head of state following his election victory on May 6. France's new left-wing government started work with pledges to combat excessive austerity but better manage public finances. His debut was marked with a 30 percent cut in pay for the president and all his ministers. The sizable wage reduction was endorsed at the first meeting of the 34-minister team in stark contrast with Germany's government which awarded rises to its ministers and Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose pay will overtake Hollande's. The cabinet includes 17 men and 17 women. They gathered in the garden of the Elysee Palace for a traditional family photo prior to starting the meeting. Hollande, France's first Socialist president in 17 years, named Pierre Moscovici as finance minister and Laurent Fabius as foreign minister, key posts under Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, like them a social democrat. Moscovici set the tone, reiterating Hollande's demand Berlin and other euro zone capitals rework a fiscal pact agreed in March, to add pro-growth measures alongside commitments to deficit reduction. The new lineup could change again after parliamentary elections finish on June 17. Hollande heads to summits in the United States of the G8 group of wealthy countries, and NATO.