France - Belgium

During his first tv interview Depardieu explains why he left France

Still from the video by Belgian Notélé TV
Still from the video by Belgian Notélé TV DR

Speaking on Belgian television Notélé last night, French actor Gérard Depardieu explained for the first time publicly why he left France nearly a year ago for Belgium.


“France is sad, and the people have had enough of it”, said Depardieu during his interview from his home in Néchin, a small village just on the French border. He pointed a finger at the François Hollande’s socialist government, saying “It seems to be that they don’t know how to do their jobs. For him [Hollande], it’s his first time and he’s never had the experience beforehand as a minister”.

A year ago, the French government announced a 75 percent tax rate on people who earn more than one million Euros. Depardieu was one of the more vocal celebrities to express his dismay over the change and vowed to leave France. He first came to Belgium, and soon after President Vladimir Putin offered him a Russian passport in January and a place to live.

While answering questions, the symbol of Russia -- the double-headed eagle -- was visibly pinned to his shirt. He reiterated the fact that he did not leave France for fiscal reasons, since he already pays a 50 percent tax rate in Belgium. 
Instead, he said he chose to move to Néchin for three reasons: it is much closer to Roissy airport in France (about 200 kilometers), he has friends who live there, and it is a village that still has quality butchers and local bistros. He said he hopes to open up a small restaurant in the Néchin region.

He also spoke about a potential film project either in the United States or in Russia. But stressed that he did not come to Belgium to “make money” and that he is not an “opportunist”. “I am French, I love the French, but I feel bad for them because they are in a delicate situation right now”.

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