Under a new policy introduced by French President Francois Holland, members of the French government will have to make public asset declarations. Mr Holland, who has made cleaning up politics central to his election campaign, also announced the establishment of an independent oversight body to review such declarations and has called on French banks to publish an annual list of all their subsidiaries to bring greater transparency to their operations and stem illicit financial outflows.
The announcement of Holland’s new measures followed publication of data gathered from more than 120,000 companies registered in offshore locations by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and showed the widespread use of jurisdiction secretary.
Long overdue, these measures are a positive step forward for France which, in a 2011 study by Transparency International of France’s institutions held that the French parliament was most vulnerable in the fight against corruption and called for greater transparency and accountability. Holland’s proposals are in line with the study’s key recommendations.
Until now, France is one of only two countries in Europe (the other being Slovenia) that has not made public asset declarations of their politicians, despite research indicating it is the best way to ensure leaders do not abuse their powers or have conflicting interests.