Tuesday 8 May 2012 7:36 pm

How will Francois Hollande’s victory in the French presidential election affect the City?

WELL Syed Kamall His greatest enemy is finance and his strategy for defeating it is taxing it to death. Francois Hollande has made quite clear how he detests bankers. He has also been shouting loudly about his plans to introduce a 75 per cent tax rate on all income above €1m and a unilateral financial transaction tax, although this is in fact Nicolas Sarkozy’s policy. Regardless of whether or not he actually follows through with such reactionary policies, which I suspect he won’t, the message to France is clear. Those working in financial services are no longer welcome. My message to him is also clear: please continue! London’s doors are wide open to any French citizen who fears that their country is heading back down the path to primitive socialism. Our tax rates are more competitive and London is now the number one centre for finance, food and culture. Syed Kamall is Conservative MEP for London and member of the economic and finance committee of the European Parliament. BADLY Mark Field Francois Hollande’s victory, by a slim majority, scarcely provides him with a mandate for radical change. Constrained by a lack of executive experience and the watchful eye of the markets, I suspect he will follow Francois Mitterrand, who was elected on a radical platform which he was soon forced to water down. Therein lies the danger for the City. With Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel unswerving, Hollande will struggle to overturn the broad thrust of austerity. To detract from his inability to make progress, he may be drawn to diversions like a financial transactions tax or a land grab by the Paris-based European Securities and Markets Authority, which may start sabre-rattling over the question of which financial entities and products pose systemic risk. While the markets may not yet have cause to take fright, the City must be on its guard as a constrained President searches desperately for external enemies. Mark Field is Conservative MP for the Cities of London and Westminster.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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