PARIS — French plans to get the country's budget back on track and safeguard its coveted AAA credit rating has prompted a heartwarming display of support from some of La France's most prominent taxpayers.
A collective of super-rich citizens are asking to be taxed more in order to help solve the country's financial problems.
The billionaire heiress of L'Oreal and the head of Total oil are among 16 business executives and super-rich individuals to sign a petition to the French government calling for a "special contribution" that would target the very wealthy.
The petition, in the form of a letter published on the website of Le Nouvel Observateur, follows a call by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett for U.S. authorities to raise taxes on him and his kind.
(GlobalPost reports: Warren Buffett's call for tax on wealthy ignites debate)
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon was to unveil a series of measures to try ensure France meets it deficit reduction targets, on the orders of President Nicolas Sarkozy, who faces a a tough battle to win a second term eight in the 2012 presidential election.
Fillon was expected to slash the country's 2011 growth forecast, which had been set at 2 percent this year. Second-quarter figures released this month showed zero growth between March and June, down from 0.9 per cent in the first quarter, sparking "concern about France's ability to rein in its enormous budget deficit" and hang onto its AAA rating, DPA reports.
The French government is aiming for a 5.7 percent deficit, falling to 3 percent — the euro zone limit — in 2013.
Fillon plans reportedly include scrapping tax exemptions and incentives, such as welfare contributions, among other measures ordered by Sarkozy.
Sarkozy reportedly interrupted his Riviera holiday for an emergency meeting earlier this month amid the global stock market rout.
His other order of business Wednesday was to meet with Mahmoud Jibri, who heads up Libya's rebel Cabinet.
Sarkozy has championed the drive to oust Muammar Gaddafi, CBS reports, with France was the first country to recognize Jibril's government. Paris has also been a driver of the NATO air strike campaign against Gaddafi's forces.
Sarkozy's office released a statement saying that talks would focus on "the situation in Libya and the international community's actions to support the political transition to a free and democratic Libya."