Francois Hollande popped into the Paris Motor Show on Friday – a somewhat incongruous setting give his administration had just announced a budget that will hit the rich hard.
The French President has kept his campaign pledge to tax earnings in excess of one million euros at 75 percent.
But, surrounded by the latest offerings from car manufacturers, he also said big business was being asked to make an effort because it enjoys tax breaks that effectively give it an advantage over small and medium-sized companies.
Big businesses are to lose a tax break on capital gains for example and on certain share sales.
Government spending is also being frozen in a bid to recoup 30 billion euros and slash the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP next year – all that while protecting those least well-off.
“Those who get rich while they sleep, who enjoyed huge tax advantages on capital assets must not enjoy outrageous privileges compared to those who toil at work,” explained Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici.
“This entire budget has been designed so that those who have the most contribute more without penalising their ability to invest in the future.”
Following developments in Paris, euronews correspondent Giovanni Magi commented: “The fear of the French is that they’re going to be presented with the bill not only for the current crisis but also for decades of a generous welfare state.
“It seems France has now joined a number of other European countries, and its hour of austerity has come.”