France - Switzerland

French PM inspired by Swiss vote to curb executive pay

Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

The French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, has praised neighbouring Switzerland for approving an initiative to curb excessive pay and so-called "golden handshakes".


On Sunday, 68 percent of Swiss voters approved a popular initiative to impose limits on the amount of money business leaders can earn.

It would ban several corporate financial perks, "golden handshakes" or large severance pay for departing executives, and bonuses linkde to corproate takeovers.

When asked about the referendum, Ayrault said it gave pause for thought.

"An excellent democratic initiative, in which the Swiss have shown us the way. Personally, I think it should be taken as an inspiration," he said.

The law would only cover Swiss companies.

Ayrault’s government imposed a pay ceiling for salaries in France’s public sector: no one can make over 450-thousand euros a year.

But French business leaders would likely oppose a similar move in the private sector.

The European Commission welcomed the Swiss vote. The Financial Markets
commissioner, Michel Barnier said it reflects a “momentum on the European level on corporate pay.”

On Thursday, EU finance ministers are due to discuss a ceiling on bonuses paid in the banking sector across the 27-member union.

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