They're strong words, presumably in a desperate attempt to back up president Francois Hollande fire fighting over corporation tax and jobs at the moment. But his labour minister said on French radio: ‘There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state.
‘That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.’
Currently, Hollande is working hard to rehabilitate the reputation of France’s economy after promising deficit reduction as well as a 20bn euro tax increase, so the timing of the radio interview is rather odd.
The problem is that since the announcement of higher taxes on companies and the wealthy, a load of capital has already left the country.
But if France is as insolvent as Sapin seems to suggest, that would go some way to explaining why the city of Dijon (capital of the hallowed wine producing region of Burgundy) has just sold off about half of its municipal wine cellar as a way of raising cash for local public spending.
The collection being auctioned includes a bottle of 1999 Burgundy, which was sold to a Chinese buyer for 4,800 euros.
The city has raised around 151,000 euros from 3,500 bottles of wine, half of a collection that has been accumulated since the 1960s.
Times must be tough for les francaises.