French press review 20 June 2012
French taxation and the state of the planet are this morning's dominant stories. And neither makes particularly happy reading.
"Big business terrified by Hollande's tax regime," howls the front page of right-wing Le Figaro.
"French bosses deeply worried," says the non-partisan business daily, Les Echos.
All this terror and anguish spring from a government plan to slap a three per cent tax on the dividends companies pay to their shareholders.
The idea is to encourage the top dogs on the French industrial scene to invest more of their profits in development, instead of throwing the surplus cash at people who already have more than enough.
It will also net the state something like 800 million euros each year, thank you very much.
But the boss of the bosses' union, Laurence Parisot, says the move will simply discourage investment in French enterprise, further strangling a sector which, according to Madame Parisot, is already struggling for survival.
Pull the other one, Laurence!
The top 40 companies on the Paris stock exchange paid out nearly 40 billion euros to shareholders last year, despite the harsh winds of economic doom, gloom and total disaster.
British Prime Minister David Camero, has thrown in his three-ha'pence-worth by offering refuge to any French companies who want to flee the repressive tax regime in socialist France.
Aujourd'hui en France decides to compare the taxation situation across Europe. So, should we all move immediately to Cameron's kingdom?
Not so fast, if Aujourd'hui is to be believed.
Individuals actually pay more tax in the United Kingdom (an average of 16 per cent) than they do here in France (an average of 14 per cent). But where we all really want to be is Greece, where the average is less than five per cent. That may help you to understand why Greece is in such a state.
If you're the boss of a big company, then Cameron's kind offer would give you a slight tax advantage in theory, but you'd be much better off moving to Denmark, or Germany, or Sweden. In fact, though Aujourd'hui doesn't mention us, the Irish are pretty hard to beat, with a level of company taxation that leaves the competition fuming. That may help you to understand why Ireland is not much better off than Greece.
And then there's the earth summit in Rio de Janeiro, where even the most optimistic champions of the environment are being forced to accept that the economic crisis is generally regarded as far more important than the ecological one. Green policies cost money, and nobody has any of that handy.
The problem, says communist daily L'Humanité, is that the United Nations, the hosts of the Rio summit, have effectively sold out to the wealthy producers in the developed world, leaving the less well-off to struggle against unfair patterns of production and consumption, while we all risk slow suffocation, dehydration and drowning as the planet becomes less and less like home.