Sunday

23rd Jul 2017

Socialist millionaires bare all in French 'striptease'

  • Elysee palace: the French government conducts business amid imperial-era grandeur (Photo: vincent.m)

French President Francois Hollande and eight of his 37 ministers are millionaires, according to the national "striptease" of politicians' assets published on Monday (15 April).

Hollande himself declared already last year that his estate is worth around €1.2 million, most of it deriving from a house in the Alps and apartments in Cannes.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But Monday's revelations show that foreign minister Laurent Fabius is worth €6 million (including a €2.8mn flat in Paris and €1.2mn shares in the Piasa auction house), while Michele Delauney, in charge of helping the elderly, is worth €5.2 million (most of it inherited properties, but also more than €1mn in cash in 23 separate bank accounts).

The other millionaires are: employent minister Michel Sapin (€2mn); Prime Minister Jean-marc Ayrault (€1.4mn); junior education minister George Pau-Langevin (€1.2 mn, with over €200,000 in cash), sports minister Valerie Fourneyron (€1.1mn); French overseas departments minister Victorin Lurel (€1.1mn); and health minister Marisol Touraine (€1.1mn).

The €1 million figure acquired special status in France under Hollande because he came to office promising to tax people who earn more than €1 million a year at a sky-high rate of 75 percent.

The "rich tax" later fell by the wayside.

Monday's figures also show that the average wealth of Hollande's Socialist crew is €914,000 each - compared to the French average of €230,000, putting them in the top 10 percentile of French society.

At the other end of the scale, the poorest ministers, six mostly younger men and women with junior portfolios, had less than €200,000 per head.

With the whole revelation prompted by a scandal involving a secret bank account by Hollande's former budget minister, the figures note that the new budget minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, has €587,000, while the finance minister, Pierre Moscovici has a relatively modest €267,000.

Some of the declarations unearthed quirky details.

Employment minister Michel Sapin declared a small fishing boat. Industrial renewal minister Arnaud Montebourg declared a designer armchair worth €4,500, while housing minister Cecile Duflot said she has €12,000 in jewellery.

But the level of detail varied from minister to minister, prompting French daily Le Monde to promise that it will scrutinise the declarations in the coming days.

Justice minister Christiane Taubira went so far as to declare a 17-year-old bicycle worth €200. But interior minister Manuel Valls said he has less than €2,000 in the bank.

The transparency exercise is normal in many European countries, but represents a big change in France, where media tends to allow public figures more privacy.

The Le Figaro daily dubbed it "the striptease" of the French republic.

Opposition politicians called it "voyeurism."

For his part, Jean-Luc Melenchon, a senator who heads France's opposition Left Party, made fun of Hollande's project by declaring in his blog: "I'm 1.74 metres tall. I weigh 79kg. My shirt size is 41/42. My trouser size is 42, and I take a size 42 shoe. All my hair is my own and is not dyed."

But there is nothing funny for Hollande (approval rating 26%) about the potential political cost of the move.

Foreign minister Fabius felt no need to apologise for his wealth.

But Delauney (housing minister, €5.2mn) told Le Figaro: "I see the risk of misunderstanding in a time when many French people are in [financial] trouble."

Stephane Le Foll (agriculture minister, €481,000 plus a €300 bicycle) said it is "entirely consistent" to be "rich and on the left [politically]," adding that "history is full" of such people.

Hollande himself noted: "Voting on the left corresponds to the idea of ​​advancing society and sharing … I do not see why those who are rich cannot have these values."

France in turmoil over tax-dodging minister

The scandal over France's tax-evading budget minister is threatening to engulf Hollande's government, which had promised an "irreproachable republic."

French leader promises anti-tax-cheat crusade

French leader Hollande has promised to "eradicate" tax havens in the EU and in the wider world, after his approval rating fell to 26 percent following a tax scandal.

Greece to get €7.7bn loan next week

The ESM, the eurozone emergency fund, agreed on Friday to unblock a new tranche of aid as part of the bailout programme agreed upon in 2015.

Opinion

Greece needs a new plan

Two years into its third bailout, Greece needs to combine the necessary fiscal targets with a new vision. This can be done in the context of the ongoing industrial revolution.

Opinion

Ceta and pesticides: A citizens' rights issue

The trade agreement with Canada will begin to apply on 21 September. But there is still a potential conflict on the right to data protection vs. the right to access information.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary