PARIS (AP) — As if it’s not enough that England and France are battling for Europe’s soccer championship this week — now their leaders are sniping over taxes, too.
While their teams face decisive matches in Ukraine, British Prime Minister David Cameron ignited a stir while in Mexico at the G-20 summit with a swipe at new French President Francois Hollande’s plan to raise taxes on the wealthy and large corporations to help France tackle its deficit and pay for new public spending intended to lift growth.
Cameron slammed Hollande’s tax-and-spend approach to resolving the eurozone crisis in remarks before business leaders widely reported in the press but so-far unconfirmed by Downing Street officials.
“I think it’s wrong to have a completely uncompetitive top rate of tax,” Cameron said ahead of a Group of 20 meeting of leaders of the world’s largest economies in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Cameron promised to “roll out the red carpet” for France’s wealthy and businesses if Hollande’s government goes ahead with a campaign pledge to increase the tax rate on earnings above €1 million ($1.26 million) to 75 percent.
Cameron said he’ll “welcome more French businesses to Britain and they can pay tax in Britain and pay for our health service and schools and everything else.”
France and Britain, rivals for centuries, have been strong — if at times uncomfortable — allies since the 20th century. As western Europe’s top military powers, they cooperate closely on defense and were joint pillars of the NATO-led air campaign that helped end Moammar Gadhafi’s reign in Libya.
The allies still engage in regular bouts of verbal sniping, such as last December when Cameron took a swipe at religious freedoms in France while the French finance minister criticized the U.K. economy.
French authorities were quick to answer Cameron’s latest barbs.
“I hope those were after-dinner comments and that (Cameron) wasn’t fully conscious when he said them because those kinds of comments just aren’t done,” Socialist lawmaker Claude Bartolone, a contender for speaker of parliament, told the French radio station Europe-1.
The head of France’s communist party also hit back, saying it was “sad to see Britain’s ambition to be Europe’s tax haven.”
Cameron “should have another ambition for his country than that,” Pierre Laurent told French TV i-Tele. “In Europe the future is solidarity, not a war of all against all where selfishness rules.”
Besides the 75 percent top tax rate, Hollande has pledged to crack down on tax breaks and raise taxes on banks and oil companies while reducing taxes on small and medium sized businesses.
More Related Stories
- Illinois' fracking and coal rush is a national crisis
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11