Don't miss




Turkish troops to go further into Syria, says foreign minister

Read more


Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more


Clinton's Comedy Turn

Read more


Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)

Read more


US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Breaking the wall between technology and people

Read more


Rural France: Challenges and opportunities

Read more


Video: In Burma, ex-political prisoners struggle to return to normal life

Read more


Xavier Dolan: Wunderkind of Québecquois cinema

Read more


French PM ‘inspired’ by Swiss corporate pay curbs

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-06

France’s Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has said the French “should take inspiration” from Switzerland after the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of a measure curbing corporate salaries.

A staunch socialist and a driving force behind some of France’s more left-leaning fiscal policies, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault doesn’t seem like an obvious cheerleader for Switzerland’s unique economic model. But since the country passed a law curbing executive pay, Ayrault has adopted a new attitude: Let’s do as the Swiss do.

Voters in Switzerland overwhelmingly backed limiting corporate salaries in a referendum on Sunday, breaking with its reputation as a haven for the world’s super-rich with its iron-clad banking sector and special tax deals. Under the new law, a company’s shareholders will be given a binding vote on executive wages and the practice of golden hellos and goodbyes (bonuses for senior managers when they join or leave a firm) are banned.

An impressed Ayrault applauded the vote, calling it an “excellent moment in democracy where the Swiss have shown the way”.

“Personally, I think we should take inspiration from it,” Ayrault said on Monday as he left a conference on employment at the Elysée palace in Paris.

Over the past ten months, French President François Hollande’s socialist-led cabinet has floated several proposals targeting the country’s top earners – some successfully, others less so. Shortly after Ayrault was named prime minister last May, his government announced plans to begin enforcing salary caps at state-owned or partially state-owned companies that would limit executive pay to 450,000 euros per year, or roughly 20 times the wage of the lowest-paid employee. The measure was due to come into effect in both 2012 and 2013.

The government’s most famous effort to get tough on the wealthy, however, was the president’s failed campaign promise to implement a 75 percent income tax on those earning 1 million euros or more per year. The proposed hike notably riled French actor Gerard Depardieu, who reacted by announcing plans to move to Belgium as a tax-exile.

The legislation was ultimately overturned in late December 2012 after France’s highest legal body, the Constitutional Council, ruled that it was “excessive” and a “breach of equality of taxes”. While the council’s decision came as a blow to the Elysée, Ayrault took the news in his stride, vowing to eventually push the measure through.

But if the prime minister’s comments this week are anything to go by, it looks as though the Swiss have given Ayrault yet another idea as to how to rein in the country’s wealthy – this time not only in the public sector, but in the private as well.

Date created : 2013-03-05


    Swiss voters approve tough limits on corporate pay

    Read more


    Top French court overturns 75 percent tax rate for rich

    Read more


    Tax exile Depardieu puts Paris mansion up for sale

    Read more