Many of France's top-notch diplomats are under-employed, waiting for months on end for an assignment or foreign posting, according to a government monitoring body quoted in a newspaper Wednesday.
The Cour des Comptes office, which monitors public spending, wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in late 2007 raising concern that "senior civil servants are being left without any definite assignment for more than a few months."
....Asked about the report, foreign ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani said France was struggling with an ageing diplomatic corps and that there were limited opportunities for them.
....The foreign ministry in December offered an early retirement package to diplomats over 58, and Le Figaro said there would soon be offers of compensation for employees who agreed to give up their jobs.
France has the second biggest diplomatic corps in the world after the United States, with 158 embassies, 98 consulates and 16,000 employees.