France: The cabinet laid bare

16 April 2013 – Presseurop Le Figaro, Libération, Die Tageszeitung


France's 37 cabinet ministers were subjected to a true "strip-tease of the Republic" on April 15 when they, for the first time ever, made their assets public, says French daily Le Figaro. This transparency operation was meant to counter act the fallout of the Cahuzac affair, so-named after the budget minister forced to resign due to tax fraud, but it has raised hackles on the left as well as the right.

"Will the new rules avoid a future Cahuzac affair? The answer is 'No' which, thus, creates a confusion between wealth and dishonesty," says Left-leaning daily, Libération. The paper goes on to stress the limits to this measure –

The needed moralisation of public life warranted better than a spur-of-the-moment, inefficient measure which may turn out to be damaging and which is certainly irreversible.

Conservative Le Figaro also points out "the restrictions and the dangers of this hastily decided transparency in a country that maintains such complicated relationship with money".

Furthermore, the daily wonders about the "French people's relief" –

As for the voters [...] they would undoubtedly prefer that François Hollande's policies to fight unemployment were a little less "see-through".

In Berlin, Die Tageszeitung doubts that these measures will actually make French politics any more transparent –

None of this data can be verified. The citizens cannot compare the ministers' tax declarations, as these remain secret. Did anyone seriously expect that a minister would unveil secret accounts in Luxemburg or an off-shore, tax-evading business in the Cayman Islands?

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