One-third of Macron's ministers are millionaires

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and  Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud (L)
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud (L) REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

Critics who have dubbed French President Emmanuel Macron a "president of the rich" will seize on his ministers' declarations of assets, which reveal that more than a third of his cabinet are millionaires, as proof their claim is true.


A dozen of France's 32 ministers are millionaires, according to the declarations they have filed with the country's transparency authority, HATVP.

The declarations have been obligatory for ministers and MPs since 2013, when a transparency law was passed in response to a series of political corruption scandals.

Left-wingers who accuse Macron of being a president of the rich, contrasting the slashing of the wealth tax to budget cuts affecting the less well-off, will see their view comforted by the figures.

However, the proportion is roughly the same as in the previous, Socialist, government, which counted 14 millionaires among its 39 ministers in 2016.

With declared assets worth 7.5 million euros, the richest member of the current government is Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud, who piloted this year's controversial labour reform through parliament.

This summer it was revealed that she had made more than a million euros in one day by selling shares whose value soared thanks to a redundancy programme she oversaw while working for dairy products giant Danone.

As director of human resources of Danone, from 2012 to 2014, Pénicaud earned a total of 4.74 million euros, the HATVP reported in July.

Real estate and investments

Some of the wealthiest French ministers today are:

  • Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud, 7.5 million euros, who owns a house near Paris estimated to be worth 1.3 million euros, another in the Somme worth 340,000 euros and savings and investments worth 5.9 million euros;

  • Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot, 7.2 million euros, who declared a house in Corsica worth more than a million euros, joint ownership of several other preoperties in Brittany and Savoie worth 1.9 million euros in total, ownership of a company linked to his work as a TV presenter worth 3.1 million euros and savings and investments worth 1.17 million euros;

  • Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen, who declared real estate worth 600,000 euros and ownership of her publishing company, Actes Sud, worth four million euros;

  • European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau, who, after her initial declaration was questioned by the HATVP, raised the estimated value of her 190m² Paris flat by 400,000 euros to two million euros;

  • Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who is co-owner of a flat in Paris worth 1.25 million euros and a flat on the Channel coast worth 400,000 euros, although he is currently paying off a 336,000-euros housing loan, as well as savings and investments worth 56,000 euros;

  • Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire who declares shares in an investment company worth 1.5 million euros and 168,000 euros in other investments.

Petrolhead environment minister

Hulot's green credentials are somewhat soiled by the revelation that he owns no fewer than eight petrol-consuming vehicles - six cars, a motorboat and a motorbike, as well as an electric scooter.

Given his past form, the HATVP may have anticipated a problem obtaining information from the prime minster.

In 2014, when he was mayor of the Channel port of Le Havre and an MP, Philippe he was censured for failing to fill in his form in full and scribbling facetious remarks on it.

This year, however, the leader of the government appears to have fulfilled his legal obligations with good grace.

Richer than average by some way

The poorest member of the government, according to his declaration, is Public Accounts Minister Gérald Darmanin, whose owned up to assets of 50,000, his only substantial piece of property being some land in north-east France worth 30,000 euros.

The figures put the richest ministers well above the average French household, whose assets are worth 158,000 euros, according to the Insee statistics institute.

They are even higher than the top 10 percent, who are worth 595,700 euros.

The top one percent are worth 1.95 million euros.

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