The new President of France was nominated on 15 May during a very official ceremony¹ of passation de pouvoir. But even before that, François Hollande had started to work on various fronts, from taxation to international matters. This week he formed his Government, chose his Prime Minister and visited Berlin.
The work never ends for un Président. President Hollande was already paving the way for taxation reform, and strengthening his resolve even before he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel. One thing is certain: that the future of France, and the EU, is looking increasingly uncertain.
French president: If I were a rich man…
Becoming the President of France means that you must declare your fortune in the Journal Officiel. François Hollande declared a fortune of 1.7 million euros, including a house in Mougins and two apartments in Cannes.
The same day he tackled the issue of ISF (Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune); a tax that Nicolas Sarkozy had generously softened. The new President wants to re-establish the initial levels of this taxation. According to the new scale², a French person with a fortune between 1.3 – 2.5 million euros will pay 0.75% in taxes. This measure should generate about 2 billion euros in revenue for the Government.
In line with the famous French sense of humour, there was an immediate buzz on the web, illustrated by a traffic jam at the Swiss borders. The caption reads « Départ des riches français pour la Suisse »; “The wealthy French leave for Switzerland”.
France: No more austerity?
More seriously, two key figures affected the mood in France this week. While François Hollande announced a 1.7% growth of the GNP (Gross National Product) for 2013, the EU acknowledged only 1.3%.
The same goes for the country’s debt: Brussels does not believe the target of 3% of GNP set by the new President can be reached, but estimates a debt of 4.2% by 2013.
Europe now demands a clear roadmap from the new French government, which wants to renegotiate the European treaty. This was a hot topic during his meeting with Merkel in Berlin on the evening of May 15.
Despite reports that the meeting was cordial, how can the Chancellor and the Président work towards a common future from such different standpoints?
Do you think the tax on France’s rich is fair? Share your opinion in the comments below.