Wealthy French citizens are bracing for “radical change” after the election of FranÃ§ois Hollande, a 57-year-old Socialist, who has openly declared that he “does not like the rich” and vows to tax them up to 75 percent. Many of the rich people in France are leaving the country in an effort to avoid the man who has declared, “My real enemy is the world of finance.” Hollande “styles himself as a ‘social democrat'” who wants to “renegotiate the euro pact to replace austerity with ‘growth-creating’ spending.” All eyes will be on France to determine whether spending, instead of austerity, will spur the French economy.
A recent article by The Independent confirms, “There are all kinds of reasons why one might fear a FranÃ§ois Hollande presidency, especially if you are a prosperous French person.” The class war that has been encouraged by power-hungry politicians is not exclusive to France, as the trend throughout Europe and America to abhor the so-called “1%” is fuelled by the mainstream media, politicians and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
The Financial Times reports that “The ‘soak the rich’ rhetoric that has punctuated the presidential campaign has prompted a sharp rise in the numbers weighing a move across the Channel, according to London-based wealth managers, lawyers and property agents specialising in French clients.” The incumbent President Sarkozy has been strong in his dislike for Hollande, calling him an “incompetent ‘liar’ who will ‘bankrupt France’.”
So, are the wealthy people in France scrambling to leave? The question was asked to Bernard Grinspan, a partner in the Paris office of Gibson Dunn in a recent BBC podcast. Grinspan confirmed that the phenomenon has been taking place for the last few months. Many are going to London, the United States, Singapore and Asia in general. Many are even considering renouncing their nationality, in the event that the taxes will follow them overseas.
Greece is facing a similar situation, as Communist leader, 37-year-old Alexis Tsipras, has just been elected in yet another clear vote against austerity. His party is called the “Coalition of the Radical Left” and his vision is that the European Central Bank would provide direct loans to Greece, specifically placing the “burden and risk” on the wealthy European countries. Tsipras has made his position known on austerity when he said, “European leaders and especially Merkel have to understand that austerity policies have suffered defeat.”
In contrast to the previous agreements made for austerity, France and Greece have defiantly voted against it, surely to the chagrin of German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has made it clear that she wants Greece and France to live up to the fiscal pacts already made, as reported by the Telegraph. Will France, Greece and Germany find common ground? Hopefully the countries will come to a strategic and ultimately prosperous solution, as the future of the Euro, and even the future of the global economy may be at stake.