And the award for « controversial idea of the week … is awarded to my local Member of Parliament – Yann Galut. The fairly innocuous, bespectacled 40 something, François Hollande Clone is never in the news, this week however, Monsiuer Galut hit the headlines when he suggested that French tax exiles shuold be stripped of their nationality .
Monsieur Galut’s proposition, set the proverbial féline amongst the pigeons especially as it came on the same day (and in response to) Gerard Depardieu’s décision to set up home in Belgium.
Stripping Mr Depardieu of his French nationality !!! Unthinkable. The larger than life Mr D is the very épitomé of « Frenchness » moreover he has recently been playing the rôle of Obelix in the latest Asterix film – a rôle that Mr D has already played four times. Heaven forbid than anyone every try to « strip » Obelix of his Gallic (or Gaulish) nationality.
Mr Galut’s idea comes at a time when there are serious questions being raised about President François Hollande’s « tax the super rich » policy. During his élection campaign, the Mr Hollande vowed to levy a wealth tax of 75% on anyone with an income of over a million Euros a year.
Come his presidential victory in May, unlike in 1981 when Mitterrand was ekected president, the nation’s super rich were not loading up their limos with their worldly wealth and heading in drives for foreign climes . The millionnaires are still here, waiting to see if Mr Hollande will ever carry out his threat.
As for Mr Galut – his proposition didn’t bring acclaim from his socialist party colleagues – the réaction across the political Spectrum was more one of consternation. Indeed, the only politician to give some kind of support to Mr Galut’s idea was Marine Le Pen – leader of the far right « Front National » party. Mr Galut must be now somewhat perplexed at having far right friends.
Critics pointed out that French nationality was an inaliénable birth right – stripping people of their nationality would be unconstitutional and perhaps open the door to other extrême crackpot ideas such as depriving people of their right to vote of they don’t pay their parking fines (one idea I heard in a radio debate on the question.)
As for Mr Depardieu – no reaction from his camp, but the actor has had his Pariaisian résidence on the market for the past three months. Mr D’s Parisian pied à terre, is a mansion in the centre of Paris, boastinh ten bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, a heated indoor swimming pool and a large garden. Asking price, 50 million Euros.
Some journalists suspect that Mr Depardieu will not be leaving France. His latest property acquisition in Belgium is a rather modest 200,000 Euro « family house » in the small town of Nechin, just a kilometre from the Belgian border and just a short tram ride from the centre of Lille.
And if Mr Depardieu were stripped of his nationality ??? It’s not sure that the he’d get Belgian nationality. Jusy a few years ago, national French rock icon, Johnny Hallyday applied for Belgian nationality (his dad was Belgian). It was rumoured that the star was about to take up tax exile in Belgium. Ecen with a Belgian Dad, Mr Hallyday’s request was refused by the authorities, and the star had to contebt himself with dividinh his time between Gstadt and Monaco.
And in a final development, President François Hollande has announced his intention to review fiscal accords with other EU countries – presumably in the hope that he can tax the exiles in exile.