The Golden Court of the Short King
At the beginning of December 2022, French High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATPL) published the composition of assets and declarations of interests of 41 members of the government led by Élisabeth Borne. It came out that half of them are millionaires. This is how the current French governmental elite is detached from ordinary citizens – who go on strike, fight for their rights which are in peril thanks to the moves of exactly this government.
A lot of French people are being pushed into poverty and seeking money and bread in other activities, including in the grayzone. But first let’s look at the list of our millionaires from the court of the French president.
The Act on the openness of public life (La loi sur la transparence de la vie publique) obliges members of the government to disclose the composition of their property to the French at the time of the office, but also after its completion. As a result, 41 members of the Elisabeth Borne government recently declared submitted their property declarations to the high power on public life transparency (HATPL), which is responsible for their publication. This is how everyone could find out that nearly a half of the French servants of the people are millionaires.
The fortune of the ministers was analyzed in two areas: land and financial ownership.
52% of ministers’ assets come from real estate. Some ministers only joined the government of President Macron after 2017, having earlier earned remarkably high incomes coming from stock placement, investments, or extremely high salaries in the private sector.
The monthly or annual average of these revenues, being calculated over 5 years, does not therefore make it possible to know the share of the precise remuneration attributed to the ministerial function. Except for the ministers present since 2017, such as Gérald Darmanin, for example.
According to information analyzed and published by Le Monde, 19 ministers of Elisabeth Borne’s possess “an average net worth of 1.9 million euros – and 1.5 million euros by subtracting debts “. This, as Le Monde sums up, places them, for the most part, in the 10% of the richest French people, and above the average of the government of Edouard Philippe in 2017. This over the period 2017/2021
HATPL did not publish documents on the wealth and assets of Caroline Cayeux, former minister, who resigned on the 28 November. The institution questioned her asset declaration, recognizing it as underestimated. The public, as well as HATPL, suspect a case of tax evasion.
Élisabeth Borne, the second person of the state, declared assets whose value is 1,67 million euro high. The chief of the government has two apartments, one in Paris, the second one in Hauts-de-Seine. Both properties are worth 1,29 million euro, but they are accompanied by finance assets. This gives 1,67 million euro.
Unimaginable? For an ordinary working person, definitely. But the list goes on.
Franck Riester is the richest of all ministers, winning the prize for the biggest heritage at the age of 48. His assets are worth 10,24 million. The Riester group, created by his grandfather and owner of car showrooms, is also headed by a person responsible for relations with parliament. Franck Riester has over 6 million euros in Riester Sas. His heritage is also supplemented with real estate worth 3.85 million euros.
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the energy transition minister, owns two apartments in Paris. She also bought life insurance and invested in financial investments. Agnès Pannier-Runacher has €516,000 in the first current account and €87,450 in the second. All her assets amount to €2.68 million.
Laurence Boone, the Secretary of State for Europe, is the owner of several Paris apartments. Laurence Boone, like many of her colleagues, bought life insurance and invested in options for shares. Her assets are worth 3,71 million euros.
One of the youngest ministers, Gabriel Attal, who is 33, can declare 1,59 million euro in finance assets. In 2016, the Minister of Public Action and Accounts bought life insurance for EUR 1.46 million. The son of a film producer, Yves Attal, has over 61 thousand euros on the current account. It also has a housing savings plan of EUR 70,000. From his declaration we can understand that in 2017 the minister took a loan of 670,000. euro, whose capital would still have to be repaid.
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, Minister of Sport (EUR 6.4 million), has held nearly 3 million euros in five years “thanks to her management positions at Axa, Carrefour and the French Tennis Federation”, specifies Le Monde. Which equals €48,965/month.
The fortune of the Minister of Justice consists mainly of real estate worth EUR 2.5 million. On the financial level he culminates with “more than 3 million euros in remuneration in five years, in particular in the period preceding his entry into government (2020), thanks to his activities as a lawyer, the copyrights of his books and his performances in the theater”. Eric Dupond-Moretti also said that his Rolex Daytona watch costs 13,000 euros and the second from the Journe brand values 25,000 euros. The former lawyer is also a huge fan of motorcycles and cars. Is the owner of, among others, two Harley Davidson motorcycles with a total value of EUR 41,815 and Bentley, whose value is estimated at 55,000 euros
The list of the other milionnaire-ministers follows: Jean-Noël Barrot, a delegated minister responsible for digital transformation and telecommunications (EUR 3.88 million); Sylvie Retailleau, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (EUR 3.82 million); Dominique Faure, minister of delegate for territorial communities and rural areas (EUR 2.5 million); Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (EUR 1.9 million); Roland Lescure, Minister of the Delegate for Industry (EUR 5 million); Agnès Firmin Le Bodo, Minister of the Delegate for Territorial Organization and Medical Professions (6 million); Stanislas Guerini, minister of public service (3.9 million euros); Olivier Becht, minister-delegate for foreign trade, attractiveness and French citizens abroad (EUR 1.5 million); Carole Grandjean, minister-delegate responsible for vocational education and training (EUR 1.4 million); Olivia Grégoire, minister of small and medium sized enterprises, trade, crafts and tourism (EUR 1.2 million); Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transformation (EUR 1.18 million); Jean-François Carenco, minister delegated to overseas territories (EUR 1.10 million) and Marc Fesneau, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty (EUR 1.02 million) complement the list of millionaires in the government.
On the other end of the rope, Charlotte Caubel, the Secretary of State for Children, has less than 30,000 euros, according to the French daily.
In addition, diving deeper into the monthly income of the government politicians offers some other surprises.
Elizabeth Borne received € 8,347/month (2017/2021), she was far behind the Minister of the Interior (€ 11,144), Marlène Schiapa (€ 10,55) or Olivier Véran (9 € 547). Gabriel Attal received € 7,240/month and Pap Ndiaye received € 5608. Dominique Faure, in charge of local authorities, has the lowest income at € 2,175/month. However, he is the one with the biggest number of assets in estates, he owns, (with his family), five houses, two apartments and agricultural land.
The annual inflation rate in France slowed to 5.9% in December of 2022 from 6.2% in each of the previous two months, and below market forecasts of 6.4%, preliminary estimates showed. Cost eased for energy (15.1% vs 18.4% in November) and services (2.9% vs 3%). It is however too early even for a burst of optimism. Even the slightly better numbers keep French people anxious about their future.
As reports the Banque de France: “60% of French residents surveyed consider that inflation and purchasing power are currently the main economic challenges”.
What’s more, “82% of households think that monetary policy has a strong or fairly strong impact on their purchasing power. Household inflation expectations are linked to their perception of the level of inflation over the past year”.
The Elisabeth Borne government does not represent France at any level or in any aspect.
The common folk’s fears do not play any part in the lives of most of her ministers. While 60 % of French people are owners of some real estate, the difference between them and the ministers is still colossal. And it becomes unimaginable when it comes to the financial level: while monthly income for ministers is more than 11,000 euros per month, or 135,000 euros per year, the average monthly income of the French in 2019 was… 1837 €. And now we have inflation and energy crisis on our doors.
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