Firms to bear burden of 75% tax, says France's Hollande
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French President François Hollande said that companies would pay a 75% tax rate on salaries over one million euros and praised France’s military intervention in Mali in a prime-time TV interview on Thursday.
French President François Hollande said on Thursday that companies would pay a 75% tax rate on salaries over one million euros, repackaging a flagship campaign promise originally aimed at individual tax payers, which was struck down by France’s constitutional court in December.
Hollande, as he struggled to defend his first 10-months in office, did not immediately reveal how the new rate would be calculated, or how it would affect certain salaries.
The president, in the prime-time television interview, sought to persuade the French public that he had made sound fiscal choices in the face of a floundering economy since he replaced Nicolas Sarkozy last May. But with France facing near historic-high unemployment levels and near-zero growth, he acknowledged that his government’s tax rises had hurt everyone.
With plunging approval ratings, the Socialist leader however promised not to increase income taxes again in 2014 but left the door open for an increase of other levies.
Touching on the eternally controversial retirement issue, Hollande argued that a further increase in the retirement age would be necessary to safeguard France’s pension system. Sarkozy`s push to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 years became one of the most unpopular policies of his presidency.
Success in Mali
The French president also said on Thursday that his country’s military intervention in Mali had accomplished its aims while confirming a rapid scale down of troops. Hollande stated that France would firmly push for elections in Mali by July.
The North African country was thrown into political turmoil last year following a military coup and the fall of key towns to armed rebels.
“The objectives of France in Mali have been reached,” Hollande proclaimed.
He said French troops in Mali, which have been tasked with eliminating Islamist rebels based in the country’s desert north, would be cut from 4,000 to 2,000 by July and to just 1,000 by the end of the year.
France’s military budget for 2014 would be the same it was for 2013, Hollande said, meaning defence will avoid the expected heavy-handed cuts in government spending next year.